meeting our ancestors

Sister Anthanasia Dunneback

Profile of an early sister who died
in the month of September
by Sister Jane Behlmann, archvist 

Sister Athanasia Dunneback died at Nazareth Convent, St. Louis, Missouri, on September 18, 1957, in the 83rd year of her age and the 54th of her religious life.

Sister Athanasia was a member of the General Council under Reverend Mother Mary Agnes Rossiter from 1923 to 1929. She was born in Marquette, Michigan, February 15, 1875, attended St. Joseph's Academy there, and was an active member of the Sodality of Our Lady in St. Peter's Cathedral parish. For a few years, she taught in the public schools of Marquette County.

Sister Athanasia was missioned at St. Joseph's Academy, St. Louis, from 1913 to 1918; at St. Teresa's Academy, Kansas City, from 1918 to 1923; and at St. Joseph's Academy, Green Bay, from 1929 to 1935, where she was both principal and superior. A pioneer member of the faculty of Fontbonne College in 1923, as an instructor of physics and chemistry, and later as director of the department of chemistry, Sister Athanasia planned the chemistry laboratories for the Science building, which was then being constructed. She taught at Fontbonne from 1923 to 1929 and again from 1935 to 1948, after which she retired to Nazareth.

Sister Athanasia received a Bachelor of Science degree from the Catholic University of America, and later she was one of the first Sisters of St. Joseph to study at the University of Missouri, where she received the degree of Master of Science. Her work in research greatly impressed the chemistry faculty at the University of Missouri and, for years afterwards, when other Sisters attended the classes, they were greeted with the question, "How is Sister Athanasia?"
Sister Athanasia was a strict, discerning, and understanding teacher. Her wide cultural background and her continued interest in current world affairs of both Church and State gave to her classes a value which her former students still talk about. May her soul rest in peace. [Necrology Report]

Sister Mary Athanasia [Frances] was the daughter of Josephine Diedam and Francis J. Dunnebacky of Westphalia, Germany. She entered at Carondelet on March 19, 1901 from St. Peter Cathedral Parish in Marquette, MI. She received the habit on October 15, 1901 and made first profession on October 15, 1903. Her final profession was made on August 15, 1909.

Sister received her Bachelor’s degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. in 1918 and her master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 1928.

Pictured: Sister Mary Athanasia Dunnebacke
“A remembrance of my Seventieth Anniversary
December 8, 1935.”

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