sister dorothy scheidler


September 4, 1923 - March 12, 2010

"Let Go and Let God"....

While Sister Dorothy Scheidler had a few other favorite expressions, the words above guided her the most the last weeks of her life. In early February she decided it was time to "let go" and "let God" draw her closer and closer to Himself.  She asked to go on hospice in preparation for God's coming.

S. Dorothy was born on September 4, 1923, in Champaign, Ill., the oldest of six children. Her parents, Clem Joseph and Barbara Scheidler, named her Dorothy Mary and had her baptized soon after birth. She was raised in a loving, caring Catholic family. Her brother Al became a Benedictine priest living his life out in Peru, Ill. Both S. Dorothy and he loved to visit their sister Ruthie and her family in Greensburg, Ind., where Ruth and her husband, Jim, and their four children provided many hours of fun for the two religious.

Throughout her life she wished only to do God's will. When S. Dorothy felt drawn to religious life, she knew leaving home would be difficult because she so loved her family, but she knew she had a vocation. On the fifteenth day of September in 1941 she arrived at Carondelet, eager to do everything to become a faithful sister of St. Joseph. Her family journeyed to St. Louis on March 19, 1944, to see her receive the habit and name Sr. Anne Alfred. Six years later S. Dorothy wrote to Mother Mary Henry asking to make final profession. She said, "Since my entrance into the religious life, I have tried to be faithful to our holy rule and the customs of our dear congregation. With the help of God's grace I shall continue to strive for perfection."  S. Dorothy pronounced final vows on August 15, 1947.

S. Dorothy's first assignment in 1944 was teaching primary grades at St. Mary Magdalen School in St. Louis, the first of many schools at which she served in elementary education, both as teacher and as administrator. S. Dorothy was an excellent primary teacher, firm yes, but kind with the small children. Her soft-spoken and gentle manner instilled confidence in her pupils. Her assignments took her from north to south, Marquette, Mich., to Savannah, Ga., and places in between.

In the fall of 1964 she took on the role of administrator at All Saints School in University City. During her time there, All Saints merged with St. Patrick's School.  While the merger posed its difficulties for both parishes, with Dorothy's even temperament, the process went well despite the hardships.

Feeling that administration was not her gift, S. Dorothy asked to return to teaching. From 1971-1977 she was missioned in Indianapolis, a little closer to home, teaching at Sacred Heart and then Central Catholic School.  Even though she felt inadequate as an administrator, she did again respond to an expressed need and went to Holy Cross School in Champaign, where she served as principal from 1977 to 1980. 

In 1981, after earning her CPE, S. Dorothy became a pastoral associate at St. Joseph Hospital in Kirkwood. In that 13-year ministry S. Dorothy said she learned how important it was to listen to patients and their families "Listening," she said, "is our main skill-learning to be completely with the person, not having our own agenda. It means emptying yourself completely."

Retiring from St. Joseph Hospital, she took some time to transition, but not for long because, unabashedly, S. Gerry O'Laughlin and S. Kathleen Karbowski sought her out to consider working at Holy Angels School in Indianapolis. In the fall of 1994, she agreed to their invitation, blessed once again to be close to her family and her ailing mother, whom she visited frequently, in Greensburg. After eight years, in the summer of 2002 she decided to move to Nazareth Living Center.

S. Dorothy kept herself involved with community in her new home.. Despite less energy, she did secretarial work for all members of the Community Life staff, an especially helpful service. As one of our "calendar girls" in the recent past, S. Dorothy reflected on Maxim 74: "Aspire to a perfect conformity of your will to the divine will."  Her reflection stated, "I give the day to God, so it's God's time. I find the day an adventure, holding surprises and challenges as I encounter my sisters and brothers in various circumstances.  The Indwelling Spirit gifts me with wisdom to make wise choices in meeting what God puts in my path."

May her eternal adventure in God give her eternal, glorious happiness. Amen.

S. Kathleen Karbowski
S. Rita Louise Huebner


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