Sister Emerentia Wiesner, 96, an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph, died Jan. 17, 2020 at Mount Saint Joseph, in her 78th year of religious life. She was a native of Richmond, Kan.
Sister Emerentia was an Ursuline Sister of Paola, Kan., prior to the merger with Mount Saint Joseph in 2008. She was a wonderful seamstress and craft maker, whose gentleness was displayed in all the creations she made. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Mount St. Scholastica (now Benedictine College), Atchison, Kan.
She taught in Kansas at Holy Name School, Rosedale (1945-47, 1950-52), Holy Angels School, Garnett (1947-50, 1963-64 as principal and teacher), Holy Rosary Wea School, principal and teacher (1955-57), Queen of the Holy Rosary, Overland Park (1957-60), St. John School, Greeley (principal and teacher, 1960-61, teacher 1966-73), Holy Trinity, Paola, (principal and teacher, 1961-62, 1964-66, tutor 1987-89) and St. Agnes School, Shawnee Mission (1962-63). She also taught at St. John School, Bartlesville, Okla., (1952-55). She was a nurse and director of Monica Hall in Paola, 1974-87, and served in community service at the motherhouse, 1989-2009.
Survivors include the members of her religious community; siblings John Wiesner, Garnett, Kan.; Marion Regier, Newton, Kan.; Thelma Cummings, Haysville, Kan.; Florence Lyon, Wellsville, Kan.; Rose Haynes, Lane, Kan.; Velma O’Brien, Bakersfield, Calif.; and Frances DeJarnette, Bedford, Texas; nieces and nephews.
The funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, at Mount Saint Joseph, where visitation will begin Monday at 4 p.m., with a wake service following at 6:30 p.m.
Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory, Owensboro, is handling arrangements.
Donations in memory of Sister Emerentia may be made to the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, 8001 Cummings Road, Maple Mount, KY 42356.
Remembrance of Sister Emerentia Wiesner, OSU
January 20, 2020
Sister Amelia Stenger, OSU
Sister Emerentia brought a beauty and peacefulness to all who worked with her. She had a wonderful smile and shared it often. She didn’t complain even on the days when she wasn’t feeling well. That is, until last week when she called Sister Pat from the hospital and told her she wanted to come home that very minute. She didn’t want to stay in the hospital. She wanted to come home. She was only home a short time before we started sitting with her. She knew that her time here with us was coming to an end and she wanted to be with her sisters. Her last prayer was the Rosary with the Sisters.
Irma Clara Wiesner, the second child of Alfred Wiesner and Emma Margaret Roeckers Wiesner, was born on January 16, 1924 in Richmond, Kansas. Her older brother was named Alfred. She was followed by John, Marion, Joseph, Velma, Thelma, Florence, Rose and Frances. Alfred is deceased and Joseph died as an infant. We offer all of you who have come from Kansas and Texas and all your family who are watching the live streaming, our sympathy and prayers as you say goodbye to your Sister and Aunt. You have been here to visit with her several times, and she totally enjoyed her time with you.
She was baptized on January 23, 1924 at St. Boniface Church in Scipio, Kansas. She was confirmed at St. Boniface Church, Scipio, Kansas on May 17, 1934 by Most Reverend Francis Johannes, Bishop of Leavenworth, Kansas. Irma went to public school in Richmond, a small town about 35 miles southwest of Paola, and met the Ursuline Sisters when they came on the weekends to teach religion and during the summer for Vacation Bible School.
When Irma was ten years old, she made her own dress and entered it in the county fair in Richmond, Kansas, where she won first place. She won first place every year after that until her last fair before entering the Ursuline convent at age 15. She said, “I got second prize. I used a double thread to make the buttonholes instead of a single thread.”
Irma got her start in handwork at home with her mother teaching her a variety of ways to sew, knit, embroider and quilt. Along with her siblings, she joined 4H and learned to excel in sewing and cooking. She made dresses and candy which won mention at many County Fairs. That encouraged her to continue with Home economics in High School and several classes in College.
Irma decided to enter the Ursuline Sisters at a very early age. When she was 12 or 13, she started seriously thinking about becoming an Ursuline. “It was just the presence of the sisters,” she said. She entered the postulancy on September 15, 1939. During 1940 her mother became very ill and she went home to take care of her after she had surgery. She reentered on February 2, 1941.
When Irma entered the Ursuline Sisters of Paola, she found a real challenge for her sewing ability. She began making the habits and coifs which were a part of her life until many years later. She could always be relied on to help others who just didn’t have the knack of getting all the pleats, gussets, and sleeves in place. A person received 5 yards of material to make the habit. If you were small the pleats were very deep, if the person was a bit larger, the pleats were very thin. You adjusted as you went along.
She entered the novitiate on January 2, 1942 and received the name of Sister Mary Emerentia. She made temporary vows on January 4, 1943 and made her perpetual profession on January 4, 1946. She was 21 years old when she began her teaching ministry at Holy Name school in Kansas City. Like most of our sisters, she went to school at night and in the summer to get the degrees she needed for her education ministry. Sister Marie Julie Fecher and Sister Rose Marie Craycroft entered the community that same year and we offer you our prayers.
Sister spent the years from 1945 to 1973 teaching in schools in the Kansas City and surrounding area. Some included Holy Name in Kansas City, Holy Angels in Garnett, St. John in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, St. John’s in Greeley, Holy Trinity in Paola and St. Agnes in Kansas City. She served in some of the schools twice, once as teacher and then later as principal. She said she enjoyed teaching all the little ones.
During those years of teaching, she attended Ursuline College in Paola, Kansas, St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas, Xavier College in St. Mary’s, Kansas and Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas. All these courses were taken during the summer. She received her degree in Education from St. Scholastica College in 1958 but continued going to summer classes.
In 1973, the Ursuline community needed someone to handle nursing and Sister Emerentia volunteered. She attended classes at Kansas University Medical Center for a year to get her LPN license. She continued her work in the Motherhouse infirmary until 1987.
In speaking of her time in the infirmary at Paola, she said, “I enjoyed it, it was a challenge. It taught me patience and charity. I had to learn to adapt.”
In 1985, she had the opportunity to go with a group to visit the Blessed Mother’s Shrine at Fatima. Her already deep devotion to the Blessed Mother was greatly intensified by this experience. To those who knew her well, her life centered around God, the Blessed Mother, her family and the Ursuline Community.
After two years of tutoring middle school age students at Trinity School in Paola, she began sewing for the sisters and the Boutique full time in 1989.
During her time of teaching and nursing, there were few times that you would see her without some type of project in the works. While in charge of Monica Hall, you would think she would have enough to do taking care of the sick Sisters, directing helpers and other activities. But you could always see her working on Afghans, baby blankets, jackets and caps, embroidering pillowcases or designing and stuffing pillows in her spare time.
Sister always seemed to be on the lookout for new and imaginative things to make. So, from her nimble fingers came chicken door stops, countless Kleenex box covers, cross bookmarks, potato bags, cosmetic bags, aprons and tote bags.
Everyone was amazed when the Academy buildings were razed that the bricks reappeared covered and stitched with Ursuline Academy 1895.
When several of the sisters from Paola moved to Maple Mount in 2009, Sister Emerentia said she wanted to continue sewing for the community. Many of her creations were sold to employees and others were available for sale at the picnics that were held in September. These included fancy table runners, children’s cloth books, fancy aprons, children’s dresses and any other item she could put together. She also crocheted and embroidered. She did mending for the sisters who lived in Paul Volk Hall and St. Ursula Hall. She worked with Sister Mary Irene Cecil who did sewing for the sisters in Saint Joseph Villa. Sister Mary Irene said, “She has taught me quite a lot.” Sister Emerentia said she wanted to keep sewing for the sisters as long as she was able. “I thank God for my gift of sewing,” she said.
She was so excited when she got a new sewing machine that would make buttonholes.
Sister worked in the sewing room until we gave her permission to stop. She wanted to help in any way she could but wouldn’t leave until I went and talked with her and told her it was okay to stop sewing. She was so committed to serving the community.
When she came home from the hospital, we all thought she was waiting to go to heaven on her birthday, January 16, but she fooled us all and went to heaven about thirty minutes after her birthday ended. She wanted to have a new birthday in heaven. We would like to thank the nurses in the Villa who watched over her so carefully.
Thank you, Sister Emerentia for all the beautiful things you made and shared with so many. But thank you more for the beauty and goodness that you shared with us. Truly the words, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”, come true when we think of you and your 81 years of service to God’s people as an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph.