In Remembrance: S. Eileen Hoffer, CSJ

Sister Eileen Hoffer, CSJ
March 4, 1929 – July 1, 2013

Excellent teacher, loving friend, genuine Sister of St. Joseph

As a young girl Sister Eileen Hoffer knew she wanted to become a sister and a teacher. She excelled at both vocations, devoting her life as a Sister of St. Joseph and to the education of children. She was born in St. Louis on March 4, 1929, to Gregory and Veronica Seidler and was baptized Eileen Ann within a few weeks.

S. Eileen was not one to talk about herself much, although she did share that hers was a loving family. Her dad was a tool and dye maker, her mother a stay-at-home mom, who frequently took her children to the zoo. It was there that an uncle, who had charge of the elephants, would let the children see them up close.

They grew up in Holy Rosary Parish in St. Louis, but when Eileen was in seventh grade the family moved to St. Louis County. Because their new neighborhood had many growing families, the area needed a new parish. Eileen’s father and many other men offered to help Father Hoffman build a church. It was named St. Gregory and, of course, all the Hoffer children were pleased their new church was named after their father!

S. Eileen was a Sister of St. Joseph for over 65 years, having received the habit and name S. Gregory Marie on March 19, 1948. After profession in 1950, she was sent to St. Mary Magdalen School. With others, she commuted every day to school while continuing to live at Carondelet. This close connection to many primary teachers helped all of them to learn from each other. Eileen herself , an eager student, would eventually excel in this important ministry.

She taught primary grades in several St. Louis schools, but her longest and happiest time was at St. Gregory’s, the place where she herself was in its first graduating class. She ministered there from 1973 to 1992, teaching as well as mentoring others, who found her patient and encouraging. This length of years allowed her to know everyone in the school and parish. With these folks she formed lasting bonds and became part of their family life.

When her teaching ended in 1992 she was assigned as co-administrator with S. Jackie Muster at the Provincial House. For the next seven years she was the image of hospitality at Carondelet, always making everyone feel welcome and comfortable.

All of us recall her special relationship with S. Jackie Muster. These devoted friends took care of each other for many years. When they moved to Nazareth Living Center, they continued to spend time together. Transitioning into McGovern Commons, they asked to share a room. Their “mission:” keeping the nurses on their toes to document everything. Speaking for the other, one would say, “Yes, she did have a shower,” or the other might share, “No, she doesn’t have to take that medicine.” So, the arrangement worked somewhat, as both began to suffer a bit from dementia.

Throughout her life, S. Eileen especially looked forward to her annual retreat, which gave her special time with the God she loved and who gave meaning to her life. Her priorities were always straight: share your gifts with others and you will find genuine happiness.

S. Kathleen Karbowski
S. Rita Louise Huebner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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