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Sister Agnes Maureen Badura

A reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (4:16-21)

“I pray that out of God’s glorious riches you may be strengthened with power through the Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all God’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

“Now to God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us, to God be glory throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Many of us will remember Sister Agnes Maureen Badura for two things: Her joy in making people laugh and her brilliance in the field of mathematics. But what she treasured most was not her penchant for stand-up comedy or her skill at measures and numbers, but an awareness of the presence of Jesus in her life, a gift she experienced during a life-changing sabbatical in 1979.

When on September 24, 2022, she was taken to eternal life by the “God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,” she was 93 years old and had been a Sister of Providence for 75 years.

Theresa Badura was born on April 3, 1930, in Chicago, the youngest child of Mary Mutansky Badura and Mathew Badura. Her sisters Evelyn, Agnes, Ann and Mary Ann and her brother Stephen preceded her in death. She attended Saints Cyril and Methodius Grade School and Providence High School. When she graduated in 1947, she was a member of the national honor society and recipient of a medal for the highest average in three years of science.

She entered the Sisters of Providence in July of 1947, took first vows in 1950 and final vows in 1955. She later wrote, “The possibility of affecting the lives of so many students and other persons never really entered my mind when I joined the Community. I thought simply of using the gifts God had given me to be of help to others. I also never dreamed I would travel as much as I have in Community, teaching in California, Oklahoma, Indiana, Illinois, Washington, D.C., Florida. The longest trip prior to my entrance was the train ride from Chicago to Terre Haute on July 22, 1947, my entrance date.”

Agnes Maureen earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in 1962 and a master’s degree in mathematics from Marquette University in 1968. For 11 years, she taught in elementary schools, grade three through eight. The next 24 years, from 1965 to 1989, she taught high school math, and also from 1984 to 1987, served as provincial treasurer in California. Not only was she a brilliant mathematician, she was also an excellent mathematics teacher.

Sister Agnes Maureen Badura (right) with special guest Sister Noralee Keefe.

A former student, Robin Royce, writes, “In the early 60s at Immaculata, students affectionately referred to Sister as ‘Aggie Mo.’ She was kind, soft spoken, and with good humor, mercifully understanding of those of us who did not share her enthusiasm for mathematics.”

Another former student, MaryBeth Rennels Strassel, said, “Sister Agnes Maureen was an outstanding math teacher, always patient with questions, always thinking of a new way to explain a concept. At Immaculata, she was one of the pillars, keeping freshmen in line and prepping them for the next four years at the school.”

A student from the Marywood class of 1968, Maureen Kuhn Burke, has kept in touch with Agnes Maureen for 50 years. She recalled, “First, Sister Agnes Maureen was a woman of God. She touched our lives so very deeply with her faith, showing us God’s love in so many ways.

“Secondly, she was an outstanding teacher. She was able to effectively communicate math to us in a way that was both respectful and challenging. She loved her topic and brought such joy in that to share with us.”

It was during this time in 1979 that Agnes Maureen had an experience that changed her life. She wrote, “I will forever treasure the sabbatical year I spent in the CREDO program at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., a privilege granted me by the Community after almost 30 years of teaching. The program helped deepen my relationship with God and with others …” She felt she was more open to the demands of the gospel and to those struggling to find God in their lives. Her friend Father Mulcrone said, “She was faithful before, but the Sabbatical experience opened her up to the presence of Jesus in her life.”

In 1989, she left teaching to serve as a benefits clerk and medical records clerk at Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center for six years. When she was nominated as employee of the month, her co-workers wrote that “she is a warm and wonderful person who goes far beyond her normal duties to be of help, who has great rapport with employees at all levels and takes great pains to assure everyone who seeks her help that they are in good hands.”

The newsletter announcing her award notes that she was “Nominated for her professionalism and her dedication,” that she was a “warm, caring and trustworthy person who always has a cheerful smile on her face and a kind word to say.” It adds that “She can always be depended on for accurate results,” an assessment shared less elegantly by her good friend, Father Joseph Mulcrone, who claims that she “went nuts if an account was 9 cents off.”

Father Mulcrone’s parish was just down the street from the medical center, and he recalls that many families told him how grateful they were to Sister Agnes Maureen who would sit down with them and explain Medicare with infinite patience.

Sister Agnes Maureen Badura and Sister Helen Dolores Losleben

From 1996 to 2002, Agnes Maureen worked at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in the Central Business Office. From 2002 to 2011, she volunteered at SPRED, a Special Religious Development Program in Chicago. Sister Susanne Gallagher says of those years:

“Sister Agnes Maureen drove to the SPRED Center in the city of Chicago every week when she was living at Guerin Convent. She was dedicated to helping us with thank you notes for donations received and logging all of the information in the computer program. Besides being so competent, she had a wonderful spirit which everyone in the office enjoyed. Her sense of humor was so gentle and clever. Her presence was a wonderful gift to us and her spirit, so genuine, so beautiful, still lives in us.”

Agnes Maureen seems also to have been a person who was gifted with life-long friends. She valued her friendships with her Sisters of Providence – a loving and trusting friendship with Sister Emily Marie, her life-long friendship with Noralee Keefe. She valued the experience and support of Community. Students also remained close friend over the years. Maureen Kuhn Burke from the class of 1968 at Marywood, said “I had stayed in touch with her throughout the 50-plus years since our graduation. She and I always kept each other in our prayers.”

Agnes Maureen’s maiden voyage from Chicago to Terre Haute was only the beginning of an amazing series of voyages. She came to love traveling the world over with her sister Agnes, and then recounting the stories of her experiences. She loved to claim that she had visited five continents – North and South America, Africa, Asia and Europe, and there are three passports and a picture of her on a camel in her file to prove it!

Her family remembers her as quick-witted, intelligent, funny and compassionate. They loved her jokes and her sense of humor, her “routine” of telling stories that made everyone laugh.

Jane Fischer wrote, “Hospitality is what I think of when recalling every encounter with her. She would first inquire about me and those at the table and then begin entertaining with her stories and love of language and puns.”

Sister Agnes Maureen Badura

Former student Robin Royce recalled that “Agnes Maureen always knew when to show up to share laughter and stories. She brightened many days. A dear and sweet soul.”

Sister Agnes Maureen was also an ardent fan of jigsaw puzzles. If she had a particularly hard one, she would not give up. Others doing the jigsaw with her would abandon it, but not Agnes Maureen. She had to persevere until she finished it!

When her health required her to move to health care, she continued to find joy in working puzzles daily, in playing Bingo and joining in card games. She liked to win at Bingo so she could get a puzzle book or a bag of candy. She did a word search puzzle in her chair most of the day. She was content. And of course, she loved to share her numerous stories and jokes with the other residents.

In the last days of her life, as she accepted that her death was near, Agnes Maureen reflected on her life. She was grateful that she was able to touch so many students and she was ready to see the brothers and sisters who had gone before her to their eternal reward. She was grateful to God over and over again for her life as a Sister of Providence. And we are grateful that she shared her wit, her intelligence and her love with us, and that she sensed how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. We know that she now shares completely in that love, filled to the measure with all the fullness of God.

Funeral services for Sister Agnes Maureen took place on Wednesday, October 5, and Thursday, October 6, in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

A Wake took place at 2:30 p.m., on Wednesday, October 5. Mass of Christian Burial took place at 11 a.m., on Thursday, October 6.

Memorial contributions may be made in honor of Sister Agnes Maureen to the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

We welcome you to share your memories of Sister Agnes Maureen in the comment section below.

Sister Agnes Maureen Badura

Complete ministry

In Illinois: Teacher, St. Mary Carmelite, Joliet (1950); Teacher, St. Angela, Chicago (1955-58); Teacher, Marywood, Evanston (1965-69); Teacher, Mother Theodore Guerin High School, River Grove (1980-84); Teacher, Mother Theodore Guerin High School (1980-84); Personnel Benefits Clerk, Our Lady of Resurrection Medical Center, Chicago (1989-93); Human Resources Associate-Benefits, Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, Chicago (1993-95); Coding Technician, Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, Chicago (1995); Volunteer, Business Office, SPRED Agency, Chicago (2002-2011).

In Indiana: Teacher, St. Philip Neri, Indianapolis (1958-61); Sprcial Projects Assistant, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Central Business Office (1995-96); Staff, Central Business Office, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (1996-2001); Volulnteer, Wabash Valley Health Center, Terre Haute (2012-2014); Residential Services, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (2014-2021); Prayer, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (2021-2022).

In Washington, D.C.: Teacher, Immaculata Prep (1961-65); Teacher, Immaculata Prep (1969-79).

In California: Teacher, St. Therese, Alhambra (1950-51); Provincial Treasurer, St. Michael Provincial House, Tustin (1984-87); Teacher, Chaminade College Prep, West Hills (1987-88).

In Florida: Teacher, Rosarian Academy, West Palm Beach (1988-89).

In Oklahoma: Teacher, Corpus Christi, Oklahoma City (1951-54).

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8 Comments

  1. Jane Fischer on September 25, 2022 at 2:41 pm

    Hospitality is what I think of when recalling every encounter with her. She would first inquire about me and those at the table and then begin entertaining with her stories and love of language and puns. Any attempt to turn the conversation toward Sister or her career would be deftly routed into another story … like the one about your car of choice: WWJD —what would Jesus drive?

    God bless you, Sister! You will be missed. I am thankful for the Providence Associates for the many opportunities to spend time with her 🙏

  2. Jane O’Brien Argento on September 25, 2022 at 3:56 pm

    In the early 60s at Immaculata, students affectionately referred to Sister as “Aggie Mo.” She was kind, soft spoken, and with good humor, mercifully understanding of those of us who did not share her enthusiasm for mathematics. May she rest in God’s peace!

    • Tracy Mayle on September 26, 2022 at 3:37 pm

      She was my homeroom teacher freshman year at Immaculata, and it’s funny how “Aggie Mo” stuck. 🙂 I remember the anxiety of learning my way around a new school, and seeing her first thing in the morning always reassured me; she was kind, supportive, helpful and witty. I’m happy she had a long and beautiful life.

  3. Robin Royce on September 25, 2022 at 4:10 pm

    S. Agnes Maureen always knew when to show up to share laughter and stories. She brightened many days. A dear and sweet soul.

  4. MaryBeth Rennels Strassel on September 26, 2022 at 8:19 am

    S. Agnes Maureen was an outstanding math teacher, always patient with questions, always thinking of a new way to explain a concept. At Immaculata, she was one of the pillars, keeping freshmen in line and prepping them for the next four years at the school. May she Rest In Peace.

  5. Pamela VARNES Srock on September 27, 2022 at 9:19 pm

    My first encounter with math at Marywood High School was a disaster. It was like a foreign language with written theorems and I failed miserably. Luckily, my next math encounter was algebra with Sr. Agnes Maureen. It was wonderful! I learned to love numbers again,she was an outstanding teacher and I feel so fortunate to have been in her class. Really enjoyed seeing her in later years at Marywood reunion lunches.
    She would tease me when I sold drink tickets, asked me if I needed help counting change! Wonderful lady who touched many lives.

  6. Joan Muldoon Linneman on October 7, 2022 at 1:37 pm

    I’ve told many people that Sister Agnes Maureen’s Geometry class was about the only thing that made sense to me in or out of the classroom when I was a teenager. Marywood Class of 69

  7. Martha Eberle ODell on October 10, 2022 at 11:29 am

    I agree with Joan Muldoon Linneman, Sister Agnes Maureen was able to make geometry make sense! If you didn’t understand it one way, she had three other ways to explain it. But the qualities I will always remember about Sister you can still see in her eyes and her face if you look at the pictures of this beautiful tribute to her. She always carried the Peace of God within her and it shines through her eyes and her smile. Age did not diminish it, in fact it enhanced it. How blessed we were to know her and learn from her. Martha Eberle ODell, Marywood class of ’69

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