Home » Obituaries » Sister Linda Kaliker (formerly Sister Marie Theodore)


Sister Linda Kaliker (formerly Sister Marie Theodore)

A reading from Paul’s Letter to the Philippians 4:4-9:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

And from Psalm 96

“For you shall go out in joy/ and be led forth in peace;/ the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing.”

The first volume of the history of the Sisters of Providence recounts that on August 24, 1840, Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, seeing in her superior’s wish the will of God, yielded and agreed to lead a little troupe of missionaries to America. August 24 was an anniversary of such moment in her life that she kept it in faithful remembrance as long as she lived, wrote Sister Janet Gilligan in her commentary for Sister Linda Kaliker, who passed away on Thursday, August 24, 2023, at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. She was 82-years-old and had been a Sister of Providence for 65 years.

The commentary, delivered by Sister Betty Hopf, continued: On August 24, 2023, Sister Linda Kaliker, formerly Sister Marie Theodore, who had in turn had for many years said yes to both laughter and tears, happiness and suffering, was led forth in joy and peace to her eternal reward. Linda was 82-years-old and had been a Sister of Providence for 65 years.

Linda Ann Kaliker was born on November 4, 1940, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Marie Geradot Kaliker and Edmund Kaliker. She was a middle-child. Her sisters, Marlene and Rita, preceded her in death. Her sisters, Karen and Kathy, join us today in celebrating Linda’s life and mourning her death. They remember Linda as a gentle soul, easy to get along with, with a wonderful sense of humor. Karen notes that middle children are good at being mediators. “That was my sister Linda, a peacemaker and a people please.” Kathy remembers Linda as a kind and wonderful big sister.

Linda attended St. Patrick’s Elementary School and Central Catholic High School in Fort Wayne. In 1956, saying yes to a call to religious life, she transferred to Providence Juniorate at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Her classmates, Patty Fillenwarth and Gloria Memering, were delighted to have someone to harmonize with – Linda has a beautiful soprano voice.

In 1958, Linda entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence. She was given the name Sister Marie Theodore, made her first profession in 1960 and her final profession in 1965. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in 1962, and a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Indiana University in 1974.

From 1962 to 1981, Linda taught primary grades in Indiana and Chicago. Sister Carol Lindly recalls that the children loved Linda, and that Linda was a joy to live with. After almost 20 years of teaching, Linda, ever adventurous, went on to a variety of jobs, including a social service worker in Forest Park, Illinois, Coordinator of Parenting Events in the Chicago Archdiocese Office, and Residential Superintendent at the Riverview Care Center in Fort Wayne.

Throughout her life, Linda remained close to her family. Her brother-in-law Gerry writes, “Linda will be remembered for her unfailing attendance at significant family events.” Kathy said, “My fond memories of her include her wonderful colorful earrings, prayers she led at family celebrations, how proud Mom and Dad were of her, how she loved her green Pontiac, how she heled prepare me for baptisms and First Communions.” Her brother-in-law Steve remembers her as a wonderful sister-in-law, always up for an adventure.

Her nephews and nieces have many happy memories of Aunt Linda. Gary writes, “Sister Linda was a pleasure to be with at our family functions and had a lovely smile.” Lisa is thankful for the many memories shared with her Aunt Linda and the special times with her at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Emily remembers that Linda treated everyone with love and kindness – greeting everyone with a big smile and a hug.

“When I remember Sister Linda, the first thing that comes to mind is a smile, as I remember her sweet, sweet spirit,” says Becky. Christ recalls how happy he was when he watched “my aunt with a big heart” welcome his fiancé, the person who had his heart, into the family. “She was a genuine person. Her smile could light up a room. I hope she knew how much fun she was, and how little things she did will be remembered with joy in our hearts.” Greg writes that her gift of a harmonica on his 8th birthday was the beginning of a lifelong passion for music. Randy recalls that Linda took care of his mother right up to the time she moved on to heaven: “Mom treasured that time with Linda.”

In 1995, Linda agreed to be the manager of Providence Center Gift Shop at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. It was during her years in the gift shop, in 2003, that Linda happened to see a television program about a clowning school in Martinsville, Indiana. She said, “I have always been fascinated by clowns. My dad was always telling jokes and I got a lot of my interest in clowns from him.”

Linda enrolled in the 10-week training course at “Clown Heaven,” and learned about clown make-up, behavior and ethics. She chose the name SPeckles, offspring of SPookles and SPAckles, a costume of big red hair, a bright yellow shirt and a polka dotted bowtie, and proudly graduated on August 24, 2003. Her certificate declares she is a lifetime member of the society of childlike grownups, entitled to play, laugh, draw, paint, color, and authorized to bring happiness, beauty and great fun to everyone. “It’s a ministry for me to bring laughter and enjoyment to others. I hope SPeckles will bring out the craziness of life.” Her sister Karen was amazed when Linda became a clown. “What nun becomes a clown? She had an innate sense of humor and I think she saw this as her ministry.”

By 2007, Linda’s health had deteriorated so much that she could no longer work in the Gift Shop. She served as a volunteer in health care until 2008 when her ministry was listed as one of prayer.

But comments from residents and care givers tell us that during her 18 years in health care, Linda never stopped ministering to others, bringing joy and laughter to everyone with whom she came in contact. Sister Claire Hanson recalls that “Linda was a happy person and did a lot of joking and teasing. She was a source of comfort to other residents, never complaining or giving way to bitterness.”

Nicole Shaughnessy, a teacher in the college nursing program, writes: “Sister Linda was a true blessing to our nursing students and it was evident that she loved the students as much as they loved her.”

Over and over again, health care residents and care givers remember Linda as lovely, a sweet lady, kind, a blessing. One recalls how “when passing in halls, she would always blow me a kiss and wave at me with her little pinky.”

Before COVID-19 struck, Linda attended a weekly art class and returned with many creative projects. She kept each and every one and found a place to hang each creation on her walls, lamps, in vases, on doors, windows, bathroom hooks and the ceiling.

Linda loved to sing, and when there was a party or gathering in Providence Health Care, she would wave her arms to the music or tap her hands to the beat and sing along to the best of her ability. She loved going outside to the courtyard, listening to the calls of the birds, content in silence and her love of nature.

Claire Hanson was moved by Linda’s deep love for her family. “There were many pictures of her parents and her sister around the room. Her face would shine when pointing to them all. When a gift came from one of her sisters, it was a ritual. She would put the package or flowers on her table and just gaze at it a long time before we even opened it. It never mattered what it was, it mattered that they sent it to her.”

But these years were not always easy for Linda. Sister Paula Damiano tells of visiting Linda in health care and noticing a beautiful ceramic bowl on her bookcase. It was glazed in gold, beige and brown tones but had collapsed in on itself during firing. Paula recalls that Linda said it was typical of her life, for many times, she believed her own life was collapsing in struggle and pain. Paula told her that in spite of its unusual and deformed shape, she found the bowl quite beautiful and that perhaps it was the difficult times that had formed and shaped Linda into the kind person she was.

In 2018, when Judy Houghton began to volunteer in health care, she and Linda became close friends. During COVID-19, Judy and her dog Angus would meet Linda at a window in Mother Theodore Hall almost every day. Although Linda was finding it more and more difficult to speak, she would greet Judy with a pinky wave, participate as much as she could in activities and she still loved her crazy hats. When Linda became frustrated and anxious, Judy would fetch Father Terry, who could always make her laugh.
And her sense of humor never really left her. On her “circle of support” form, her final wish was that her fingernails be painted for the casket.” She loved her nails!

On August 23, 183 years after Mother Theodore’s crucial yes, 20 years to the day after her graduation as a certified clown, Linda’s friends gathered around her bed, and after Judy whispered “good bye,” Linda said yes to her final adventure, her peaceful, joyful journey into eternal bliss.

Funeral services for Sister Linda took place on Friday, September 1, and Saturday, September 2, in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

A Wake took place from 2:30-4:30 p.m., on Friday, September 1. Mass of Christian Burial was at 11 a.m., on Saturday, September 2.

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

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

Sister Linda Kaliker (formerly Sister Marie Theodore)

Complete Ministry

In Indiana: Teacher, St. Ann School, Indianapolis (1962-64); Teacher, St. Joseph School, Jasper (1967-74); Teacher, Holy Spirit School, Indianapolis (1974-81); Residential Superintendent, Riverview Care Center, Fort Wayne (1987-89); Consultant, Sears Telecatalog, Fort Wayne (1989-93); Adult Literacy Consultant, Idea Center, Huntington (1993-94); Manager, Providence Center Gift Shop, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (1995-98); Gift Shop Staff, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (1998-205); Assistant Manager of Gift Shop, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (2005-07); Volunteer in health care, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (2007-08); Prayer, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (2008-2023).

In Illinois: Teacher, St. Genevieve, Chicago (1964-67); Tutor, Maternity BVM, Chicago (1981-82); Social Service Worker, Center for Human Services, Forest Park (1982-84); Coordinator of Parenting Events, Archdiocese Office for Family Ministries, Chicago (1984-87).

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  1. Avatar Gary Delamarter on August 27, 2023 at 1:55 pm

    Sister Linda was a pleasure to be with at our family functions and had a lovely smile. She dedicated her life to the service of others and now gets to spend eternity with loved ones that preceded her and to walk with the Lord. My guess would be that her smile is even brighter now.

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