sister marie t. tucker

November 23, 1917—April 14, 2013

Enthusiastic and joyful Sister of St. Joseph

If ever one loved being a Sister of St. Joseph, it was Sister Marie Tucker. Following upon Vatican II especially, she embraced the changes and new life they brought to our lives as Sisters of St. Joseph. Her many letters to province leadership express this enthusiasm and excitement about living in the “new Catholic Church.”

Born November 23, 1917, in Kansas City, Mo., she was baptized Blanche Elizabeth. She had one brother and two sisters, all of whom preceded her in death. Her family life provided all the incentive she needed to choose religious life. In considering a religious name, she wanted to honor her sisters, Marie and Theodora, and her father, Theodore. She could not have been happier to receive the name S. Marie Theodorine on March 19, 1937.

She began her active ministry by teaching elementary children, first as a primary instructor, and later, when it became apparent that she could relate to older pupils, she taught secondary students. Early years were spent at St. Teresa and St. Anthony schools in St. Louis, Bishop Baraga High School in Marquette, Mich., and St. Anthony’s High School in St. Louis. Later she was named principal of St. Joseph’s Academy in Green Bay, a position she held until 1962, after which time she returned to teaching, at St. Teresa’s Academy in Kansas City.

After 14 years of teaching at the latter school (1962-1976), S. Marie began a whole new ministry, that of administrator at Redemptorist Retirement Home in Kansas City. While grateful for her many years of being with young persons, S. Marie said she felt energized in her new work. Thirteen years later, however, she knew the “wind behind her sails” was weakening and it was time for her to take life a little easier.

One of her favorite pastimes while in Kansas City was visiting the library at Avila College; it was a logical choice for her then to volunteer at the college and to work in the library. Not only did she help students do research or work the desk, she also taught English as a second language. At the same time she continued to read and educate herself about theology and liturgy. She liked living in the larger sisters’ community at Avila where she could engage with others and share meaningful conversations.

For one year (1996) she was the primary care giver for her beloved sister Teddy. Her additional years in Kansas City were spent first as a CSJ Care home service worker and later as a staff worker for the Sisters of St. Joseph Development Office.

In 2002, S. Marie retired to Nazareth Living Center. She brought with her a lovely picture of her dear sister to hang in her room. Later when S. Marie became confused and disoriented, it was that picture that gave her comfort and the knowledge that she truly was in the right room. As a resident, S. Marie enjoyed visiting the sisters in McGovern Commons and taking her afternoon nap.

The story is told that one summer in the 60s, S. Marie decided to work for a publication about gardening. Her job was to respond to requests from readers about plant growth, etc. Not a gardener herself, she carefully researched the subject and sent an answer to the inquirer, who was never the wiser that S. Marie was not the natural expert.

May she rest in God’s peace forever.

S. Rita Louise Huebner
S. Kathleen Karbowski

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