sister andrea marie rentmeester csj

November 30, 1925 - December 21, 2016

“A grounded, peaceful woman … deeply spiritual.”  
—S. Pat Murphy
She loved strawberry picking in the summer and making her special jams and jellies. She loved being in a vegetable garden working the soil, preparing the vegetables she would pick and serving them for a meal ... Andrea did everything with a smile. Despite her years of suffering from terrible sciatica she was so much a part of everything in community ... She was hard working, long suffering and a dear. She could be found praying in chapel at all times and for any need ... she was a GREAT lady! —Sister Pam Harding
On November 30, 1925, the eighth of their nine children, Myrtle Agnes, was born to Andre and Anna (Vander Kelen) Rentmeester of Preble, Wisconsin. She “grew up in a rural area [on a farm] and attended a one-room school [where] her father was the teacher.” (Sister Ruth Burkhart) Myrtle then attended St. Joseph Academy in Green Bay where she was dropped off at 6:30 a.m. by an older brother on his way to work. 
Entering the Sisters of St. Joseph on September 15, 1943, she received the habit and the name Sister Andrea Marie, on March 19, 1944. Sister Teresa Maria Eagan writes: 
I met Sister Andrea when we entered Carondelet ... [Later on] I became aware of the health problem that was to dominate her life but she complained little ... I believe there are many types of martyrdom so I am sure that her many years of constant pain and suffering won for her the martyr’s crown ...
Sister Andrea Marie earned a bachelor’s degree in modern European history from Loretto Heights College, Denver, Colorado (1955). She received a master's in history from St. Louis University (1963). Her teaching ministry began in elementary grades at St. Anthony of Padua, St. Louis, Missouri, in 1946. Later in 1946, she moved to St. Francis de Sales, Denver, Colorado. Nativity of Our Lord in St. Louis followed (1956).
Sister Andrea Marie next ministered at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, St. Louis (1957). Sister Ida Berresheim, who lived with her at Aquinas, says: 
“Andrea was senior coordinator, [she] could always get to the root of a problem without making too much of it. The teachers never found out how she knew who the perpetrators of some prank were ... The seniors really loved her, as she did them, and they knew it.” 
Her next assignment was principal at Bishop Baraga High School in Marquette, Michigan (1965), followed by teaching at Loretto Catholic Central, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (1969). Returning to Marquette, she was educational consultant for the diocese (1971). 
Sister Andrea Marie served the CSJ community as coordinator of pastoral ministry, Carondelet (1973). Then she ministered in the Archdiocese of St. Louis as president of the Archdiocesan Council of Women Religious (1976). Campus minister at St. Joseph’s Academy in Green Bay, Wisconsin, followed (1982). She moved on to alumnae relations there in 1985. 
Sister Andrea Marie returned to the St. Joseph Provincial House, St. Louis (1990) to be a publications assistant. Later she was ministry secretary at Carondelet (1993) until she retired there in 2004. Her ministry of prayer and presence at Nazareth Living Center began in 2005.
 
Andrea was a gentle and affirming person to live and work with. In spite of the great pain that she lived with for many years she never complained or used it as a reason to feel sorry for herself. She was down to earth about life, ministry and serving others. —Sister Pat Bober
She was always doing ‘little’ things for people with great love … Those in our [prayer] group all missed her when she was no longer able to attend our monthly gatherings ... She was wise, loving, and kind. —Associate Theresa Jeevanjee

Her acceptance of God's Will for her has been admirable. I'm sure she has gone right into Heaven!” —Sister Roberta Houlihan

Helen Oates, CSJ 
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