Sister Raymond’s Wake Reflection
On October 27 in the late evening, Sister Raymond answered God’s final call to follow. She died quietly surrounded by the Sisters and Nurses who had taken care of her since she arrived here from Kansas. We have been blessed by her presence.
Sister Mary Raymond Dieckman was named Joann Irene Dieckman on January 29, 1932 to the late Raymond and Catherine Malloy Dieckman. She had one brother, John, and two sisters, Elizabeth Louise and Mary Catherine. We extend our sympathy and prayers to you, Betty and those of you, who have come so far to help us celebrate her life here with us.
As a child, she attended Blessed Sacrament Grade School and Bishop Ward High School. She received a bachelor’s degree from Creighton University in Education in 1958 and a Masters of Education from the University of Kansas in 1966. She really never stopped learning. Her folder was full of certificates for numerous classes and workshops she attended over the years.
When asked to tell the story of how she was called to religious life, she said, “From the time I was in the second grade I had the desire to be a teacher and be like the Sisters who taught me. My favorite past time was dressing up like a Sister and playing school. That I chose the Ursulines was truly the result of the Lord’s direction. I knew nothing about the Ursulines until I was in High school. I had Charity Sisters in grade school. It was during World War II and my aunt who was a nurse had to go to work so she enrolled her daughter in grade school at Ursuline. When my aunt would come to visit her I would come along and it was then that I met Sister Lucille Sterbenz who was my cousin’s teacher. Once Sister Lucille found out I had leanings toward religious life she began communicating with me and my interest grew. I visited the Superior of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth and after talking with her she told me she felt I was being called to Ursuline. I have never for a moment regretted that decision.”
Sister entered the Ursuline Sisters of Paola in September 1949 along with Sister Marie William Blyth. Her other classmates here in Kentucky are Sister Elaine Burke, Sister Joan Walz, Sister Mary Angela Matthews, Sister Alfreda Malone, Sister Marie Carol Cecil, Sister Amanda Rose Mahoney, Sister Marie Goretti Browning and Sister Mary Jude Cecil. To you we offer our sympathy and prayers.
She received the habit on March 25, 1949. She made temporary profession on March 25 in 1952 and final profession on March 25, 1955. March 25 was always a very special day in her life.
She began her ministry as a teacher at East Scipio School in Scipio, Kan., and continued at St. Philip Neri School in Osawatomie, Saint John School in Bartlesville, Okla., Queen of Holy Rosary in Overland Park, Kan., Saint Agnes in Shawnee Mission, Kan., Bishop Miege High School, Shawnee Mission, Holy Trinity School, Paola, Ursuline Academy, Paola, and in Holy Name School in Kansas City. In these schools she served as a teacher, principal, assistant principal of elementary and high school.
She then began her 22 years of service in Ursuline leadership, including eight years as superior (1974-1982). She was a Councilor, Director of Formation and community bookkeeper from 1982 to 1986. She was the community bookkeeper from 1990-2005, receptionist from 2007-2009, and was a Hospice chaplain volunteer at Olathe Medical Center (1994-2007). You can see that several of her jobs overlapped.
One of the positions that she loved was that of working with Hospice. In 2004, she was given an award as a Hero in Healthcare by Ingrams. In receiving the award, she said she received much more than she had given with her work at Hospice. “I work in Hospice knowing that I am able to reach out and bring comfort and peace not only to the patient, but to the family members as well. I pray for them, for their comfort and do whatever I can to support the family.”
According to one of her colleagues at the time, “She is the one people turn to for comfort and assurance, for security and love. Her heart is as big as the world, because she shares her love of God with those so desperately in need.”
During her many years of working in schools and the other areas, she was nicknamed “Mighty Mouse” for her small stature but huge impact on all those to whom she ministered. When Sister Raymond was assistant principal at Bishop Miege High School, two of the teachers gave her the first mouse because of her nickname.
This began a huge collection of stuffed, porcelain, little and big mice — more than 750 to be exact. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the collection really took off. Sister Raymond had a mouse paper weight on her desk and decided she didn’t need it anymore. She put it up for sale in her sister’s garage sale. One of the older sisters in the community went to the garage sale and bought the mouse as a surprise gift for her. She said, “First of all, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. I was so surprised that it came back to me. I welcomed it greatly. I look at that mouse and say, “YOU started this.”
After that incident, the mice collection really began to grow. “I had no intentions of it being big or happening. It just did.”
When she was getting ready to move to the Mount, she gave away most of the mice because there were just too many to bring with her.
In 2009, Sister moved to Mount Saint Joseph as our communities merged. She moved to the Villa and shared prayers, movies, kick ball and bingo with the other sisters. She always thanked the nurses who came to help her. To Nicki Feher and all the nurses in the Villa, we want to thank you for taking such good care of our Sister. And to our Sisters from Kansas, we pray with you as you say goodbye to our Sister.
In one of the documents in her archives file, there is a quote that tells so much about her and her dedication to her vocation. It says, “God surely had a hand in the chain of events which brought me to the Ursuline Sisters. I feel religious life has allowed me to answer the call of the gospel in ways I would never have been empowered otherwise. I have walked down roads I would never have dreamed of and continue to do so for which I am extremely grateful.”
Sister Raymond, we ask you to pray for us as you join our other Ursuline Saints and for you we are extremely grateful.