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Sister Kathryn Koressel (formerly Sister Alfreda Marie)

Sister Kathryn Koressel

“Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.”

— Matthew 11:28-30

This reading is the reading assigned for liturgy (for Thursday, December 14, 2017), and it seems appropriate to repeat it here as we remember our Sister Kathryn Koressel. One of our sisters described Kathryn as a 90 year old with the energy of a teenager. And we who know her, know that that energy was spent in serving, in ministering for others. That is the story of her life, said Sister Margaret Quinlan in her commentary for Sister Kathryn Koressel, who died Thursday, December 7, 2017, at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. She was 90 years old and had been a Sister of Providence for 73 years.

Kathryn was born in 1927 in Evansville, to Leo and Matilda Korseel. She liked to say she was born on July 7, 1927. She was baptized Alfreda Kathryn. She is survived by four sisters: Helen, Agnes, Margaret and Marie, and by three brothers: Joseph, Linus and Father Jim Koressel. Her sister Irene and her brothers Alvin and Clarence are deceased. With Kathryn, that makes 11 siblings.

Sister Kathryn Koressel

Teacher for 39 years in schools in Indiana, Illinois, Oklahoma and North Carolina

In Indiana: Assumption, Evansville (1948-51); Holy Cross, Indianapolis (1951-52); St. Charles, Peru (1952-57); St. Paul, Sellersburg (1959-65); Sacred Heart, Evansville (1967-78); Annunciation, Brazil (1976-86).

In Illinois: St. Agnes, Chicago (1947-48)

In Oklahoma: Immaculate Conception, Tulsa (1965-67)

In North Carolina: Blessed Sacrament, Burlington (1957-59)

Kathryn attended Sacred Heart Grade School in Evansville and graduated from Reitz High School in 1943. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1963 from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and her master’s degree from Indiana State University in 1969.

Kathryn entered the Sisters of Providence in 1944 and was given the name Sister Alfreda Marie. She made her final profession in 1952. She ministered in schools in Indiana, Illinois, North Carolina and Oklahoma, teaching grades 1, 2, and 3 for 40 years. In 1987, she began ministry at Providence Retirement Home in New Albany, and in 2000, as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society Staff in Evansville. Ten years ago, in 2007, she returned to the Woods, where she served as the Coordinator of the Wellness Center and in a number of other ways. As Coordinator of the Wellness Center, she encouraged us all to keep up our physical strength and our health. She described her role as “… to direct activities and to keep equipment up to date and running well.”

Kathryn’s sisters here at Providence described her as a most generous and faithful volunteer, whenever, wherever, and to whomever. For instance, one sister pointed out that Kathryn’s name was at the top of the sign-up list to bake for the bake sale last Saturday for Christmas Fun at the Woods. She was a Eucharistic minister and took her turn as sacristan. She often worked the camera in church during services so those unable to come to church could still be a part of the liturgies. She laundered linens for the church. She laminated relics of Saint Mother Theodore.

Other sisters pointed out that Kathryn was vitally interested in political news, in breakthroughs in medical science to help people throughout the world. She showed the generosity of those who reach out to the poor and suffering. For example, she recently forfeited a Christmas program to hear about the need for helping people born with a cleft palette. For several years, she wrote to a prisoner who was on death row at the Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute.

Kathryn once wrote, “Even if we do not experience praise and gratitude, for what we do, God sees.”

Kathryn also loved music, sacred music and opera. She enjoyed sports too, especially football. Her sisters here at Providence reported that she would stay up until the last play! Imagine: A devotee of opera and football.

Sister Betty Koressel, who was Kathryn’s second cousin, pointed out Kathryn’s “dry wit.” We all experienced that, didn’t we? Yet, it seemed to me that her dry wit became a tad gentler recently. Did any of you notice that?

At any rate, last Thursday, Kathryn slipped off to her heavenly reward, to our God who is gentle and humble of heart, in whom she no doubt found rest.

Funeral services for Sister Kathryn took place Wednesday, December 13, and Thursday, December 14, in the Church of the Immaculate Conception.

A Wake took place from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., on Wednesday, December 13, with Vespers at 4:30 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial was at 11 a.m., on Thursday, December 14.

We welcome you to share you memories of Sister Kathryn in the comment section below.

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1 Comment

  1. Carol Nurrenbern on December 12, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Sister Kathryn was a much beloved aunt who will be greatly missed by all who loved her. She was the youngest 90 year old I have ever known. When we celebrated her 90th birthday this past July at St. Mary of the Woods, she shared with me that she stopped riding her bicycle this summer around the Woods for fear of falling and breaking something and not being able to be a productive member of her community. I was so certain that she would live to be 100, but God had other plans. So grateful her life was full and active until her very last breath.

    Your family will miss you until we see each other again.

    Carol Nurrenbern

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