Sister Marie Brenda Vowels, OSU: April 24, 1926-July 27, 2018

Maple Mount — Sister Marie Brenda Vowels, 92, an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph, died Friday, July 27, 2018, at Mount Saint Joseph, in her 73rd year of religious life. She was a native of Louisville.

Sister Marie Brenda was a teacher or principal for 31 years, then spent another 17 years as a parish minister. She loved all her ministries, but was most fond of the 30 years she spent teaching and ministering to Native Americans in New Mexico.

In Kentucky, she taught at St. Romuald School, Hardinsburg (1947-49), St. William School, Knottsville (1949-54), St. Charles School, Lebanon (1954-56), St. Anthony School, Axtel (1956-58), St. Catherine School, New Haven (1963-64), St. Thomas More School, Paducah (1964-66), and St. Martin School, Flaherty (1974-75), and was principal of St. Andrew School, Harrodsburg (1970-73) and Precious Blood School, Owensboro (1973-74).

In New Mexico, she taught at St. Joseph School, San Fidel (1959-63), and was principal there from 1975-78; taught at St. Teresa School, Grants (1966-70) and was parish minister at St. Teresa Parish (1993-95); taught at Sacred Heart School, Farmington (1958-59); served as parish minister at San Estevan Indian Mission, Acoma (1978-86, 1989-91), at St. John the Baptist Parish, San Juan Pueblo (1986-89), and at St. John the Evangelist, Houck, Ariz. (1991-93). She was director of religious education for the St. Anthony Indian Mission, Zuni (1997-98).

She also ministered in outreach in Benton, Ky. (1995-97), and served at the Motherhouse in the Post Office (1975) and as an information receptionist (1999-2009).

Survivors include a sister, Barbara Whelan of Louisville; nieces and nephews and the members of her religious community.

The funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 31, 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 Crematorium, Owensboro, is handling arrangements.

Donations in memory of Sister Marie Brenda may be made to the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, 8001 Cummings Road, Maple Mount, KY 42356.


  1. Linda Rocco

    I would certainly loved to have come to the funeral, but i am to be out of town on that day. So sorry!

  2. Joyce Alexander

    Sr. Marie Brenda was alway concerned with others. She always ask me how my parents were doing and how my brother Dale (with throat cancer) was doing and that she too had a brother named Dale. What a precious soul to celebrate Heaven now. Pray for me now Sr. that I too will join you one day.

  3. Ann Jenkins Caspar

    My Mom, Irene Sophronia (Vowels) Jenkins was Sister Marie Brenda’’s first cousin. They both certainly shared the GIFT OF GAB. Sister loved all she was called to serve.

  4. Fr. Valentine Young, OFM

    Sr. Marie Brenda was certainly a blessing and an asset to the Navaho Indian Mission in Houck, AZ, 1991-1993. I was pastor there at the time and witnessed the good she did. I’m sure her generosity in serving God is now being rewarded. Requiescat in pace.

  5. Pat Howell

    Brenda was indeed a special gift from God to not just the MSJ Community but to the people she served in his name. She truly loved the Native America people in New Mexico and was an example to everyone she met. God bless you Brenda. I know you’re enjoying eternity. Go rest with the God you loved so much and shared freely with those of us who were blessed to know you.

  6. Christine Sims

    Sister Marie Brenda was well known in our community for her years of service and ministry to our people here at Acoma Pueblo and at St. Joseph School where she taught many of our children. She and Sister Joseph Adrian, Sister Ancilla Marie,and later Sisters Michael Ann and Cecilia Joseph were all a huge part of the early days of our little school. I am thankful for all of them and pray that Sister Brenda, always the talkative one, is conversing just as much or more with the saints in heaven! May she rest in peace.

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