Sister Lois Ann Stoiber
A reading from the Gospel of Matthew: 6:19-21
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and decay destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
By her very presence, Sister Lois Ann Stoiber seemed to understand the connection between “treasure” and “heart.” She loved her family members, especially her brother Ray, and her many cousins and dear friends. She thoroughly enjoyed being with others. Her graceful and grace-filled, quiet, unassuming presence filled a room as she seemed to “float” into it. Or sometimes, went into spontaneous dance steps, which may explain why she loved the TV show “Dancing with the Stars,” wrote Sister Ann Casper in her commentary – given by Sister Carol Meyers – for Sister Lois Ann Stoiber, who passed away on Thursday, June 22, 2023, at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. She was 96-years-old and had been a Sister of Providence for 77 years.
Sister Carol continued: Lois May Stoiber was born on May 6, 1927, in Joliet, Illinois, to Raymond J. and Helen Mae Sheridan Stoiber. She grew up in Joliet near many family members (now including three generations of cousins and their families) to whom she remained devoted through the years, especially to her only sibling, Ray.
She completed elementary school at St. Mary, Carmelite, in Joliet and graduated from Providence High School there. As a result, she was a “lover of all things Joliet,” probably second only to her love for her Chicago Cubs. She and Ray were both avid Cubs fans and if they were both wearing their Cubs hates, they could pass for twins! Many Sisters of Providence became Cubs fans as well, kindness of Ray who purchased their tickets for seats at Wrigley Field.
Lois May entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence on Feb. 2, 1946, receiving the name of Sister Lois Ann. She professed first and perpetual vows on Aug. 15, in 1948 and 1953, respectively. She earned degrees in education: A bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree from Illinois State University.
Of her 77 years as a Sister of Providence, she ministered in education for 38 years in schools in Indiana and Illinois. She had a reputation of being an excellent primary teacher, but she also ventured into teaching intermediate grades. Retiring from formal teaching, she continued serving in schools as secretary, clerk, and aide for another 17 years.
Following that, she remained in the Chicago area serving her sisters in her convent of residence and caring devotedly for her brother in his illness. She helped him move from the family home and was with him every step of the way as he adjusted to an assisted living facility. She used her considerable organizational skills to plan Ray’s 90th birthday party there. It went so well that a year later, she threw her own 90th birthday party!
Lois Ann returned to the Motherhouse in 2020 where she was once more united with her dear friend since kindergarten, Sister Joyce Brophy. Lois was like an older sister to Joyce. It was little Lois May’s smiling face that greeted Joyce, the kindergartner, on her first day of school, calming her fears and giving her reassurances. In high school, Lois, the athletic one, taught Joyce tennis, ice skating, roller skating and horseback riding. And as Providence would have it, Lois Ann and Joyce lived only a few rooms apart in Mother Theodore Hall, where they continued to enjoy their closeness and conversations.
Another loyal friend also from Joliet, Sister Andre Panepinto, living with Lois Ann in Galesburg, where Lois Ann was Andre’s principal. Something must have rubbed off, for in later years in Lockport, Andre was the principal and Lois Ann her secretary, for she described herself as a “pair of suspenders, someone who supported and held up, not someone that had great ideas and made them happen.” Such was her generous spirit and Sisters, students, colleagues, and friends have all benefitted from it.
Andre also recalled that about three weeks before she died, Lois Ann asked her for help in securing an Apple smart phone. “Since I had tried to talk her into using one three years ago when she came to the Woods and she wasn’t interested, I inquired, ‘Lois, why now?’ She responded: ‘I want it for the games I can play, especially the slots.”’
Several friends described Lois Ann as “so general.” She was accepting of all, was eager to meet new people and enjoyed conversations with everyone. She remained a very positive person, despite her years of dealing with serious lung and heart issues.
Her devoted friend of 40 years, Cheryl Trunk, spoke of their friendship: “Our relationship quickly grew from acquaintances, to friends, to family. Without judgment, she embraced my family: Attending weddings, dinners out, family parties and of course, many baseball games … go Cubs! I am so grateful to have had Sister Lois in my life and for all the memories we shared. When visiting Sister Lois, we reminisced, laughed and shared stories. I will miss most her laugh and unconditional friendship. It is said, ‘There are some people in life that make you laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger and just live a little better.’ Sister Lois Ann Stoiber was definitely one of those people.”
Indeed, Lois Ann had many treasures: Her God, her family, her Sisters, her ministries, her enduring friendships … Her heart was always reaching out and embracing others in love. May we do likewise to honor her legacy.
Funeral services for Sister Lois Ann took place on Wednesday, June 28, and Thursday, June 29, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
A Wake took place from 2:30-4:30 p.m., on Wednesday, June 28. Mass of Christian Burial took place at 11 a.m., on Thursday, June 29.
Memorial contributions may be made in honor of Sister Lois Ann to the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
We welcome to share your memories of Sister Lois Ann in the comment section below.
Sister Lois Ann Stoiber
In Indiana: Teacher, St. John the Baptist School, Fort Wayne (1948-52); Teacher, St. Patrick School, Indianapolis (1952-53); Teacher, St. Jude School, Fort Wayne (1953-58); Prayer, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (2020-2023).
In Illinois: Teacher, Immaculate Heart School, Galesburg (1958-67); Teacher, St. Athanasius School, Evanston (1967-69); Teacher/Principal, Immaculate Heart School, Galesburg (1969-72); Teacher, Costa Catholic School, Galesburg (1972-73); Teacher, St. Dennis School, Lockport (1973-74); Teacher, St. Mary-Sacred Heart School, Joliet (1974-79); Teacher, Romeo Blanchette School, Joliet (1979-80); School Clerk, Providence High School, New Lenox (1980-82); Assistant Teacher, Trinity School, New Lenox (1982-85); Teacher, Trinity School, New Lenox (1985-86); Secretary, St. Dennis School, Lockport (1986-97); Tutor, Chicago area (1998-2008); Convent Service, Chicago and River Grove (1998-2016); Convent Service, River Grove and Joliet (2916-18); Convent Service, Northlake (2018-2020).
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