sister catherine beauron
March 11, 1918 – September 26, 2008
Sister Catherine Beauron was born in Green Bay, Wis., on March 11, 1918, to Peter and Lenore Pahl Beauron. She had three older sisters; two brothers and a sister were born after her. Her father, Peter, had been born in Paris, France, at the time that his parents had been world travelers. Her grandfather and father were successful watch makers.
Catherine’s parents chose to settle in Green Bay because Peter felt it was important to live in a large city because of his business. The family grew not only in size but also in their faith, so they felt blessed when Catherine told them she was sure she had a religious vocation. She was only sixteen years old when she left home for Carondelet.
Catherine received the habit and name S. Mary Veronita on March 19, 1936. She said the day she made her first vows on March 19, 1938, was one of the happiest days of her life. From 1938 – 1940, while Catherine finished her high school education, she served as a cook at the Motherhouse. In 1940, S. Catherine began teaching at St. Leo’s School in St. Louis and remained there for ten years. Other missions included St. Mary’s, Waco, Texas; St. Peter’s School, Marquette Mich., and Holy Cross, Champaign, Ill.
From some early volunteer experience with young prisoners, S. Catherine determined to concentrate on helping persons to read. She reasoned, and rightly so, that knowing how to read would help all develop a better self image and enable their pursuit of life’s goals. Eventually she became a Reading Specialist and Educational Consultant for the St. Louis Archdiocesan Reading Clinic, setting up three clinics in the city. She especially liked working with beginning teachers. One of her aims was to help them interpret the text manuals. She also tutored children before and after school and on Saturdays. All of this activity with reading, she said, was a “profitable and full life.”
One of her favorite missions was St. Joseph School in Keshena, Wis., where she had the opportunity to learn the culture of the Native American children. Although there just two years, S. Catherine learned the importance of “listening and learning” from others. Later she taught at St. Viator’s School and St. Bede’s School in Chicago; St. Margaret of Scotland School, St. Louis; St. Peter’s in Kirkwood; St. Joseph Academy, Green Bay; and Valle Grade School in Ste. Genevieve.
S. Catherine’s last active ministry was in Peoria, where she was an assistant librarian and reading teacher at the Academy of Our Lady/Spalding Institute and later at Peoria Notre Dame High School. She was fun to be with and lived a very active community life. Her proven organizational skills facilitated the move from the large three story convent at the Academy to a home on West Wagner Lane when the Academy convent became the property of the Peoria diocese. Later, these same skills were used to transfer the whole library from AOL/SI upon its merger with Bergan High School to create a new school identity: Peoria Notre Dame High School.
For some years, S. Catherine had been afflicted with Parkinson’s disease. Despite its progression, she was able to work in the Peoria Notre Dame library. One day, as she and S. Roberta Houlihan were walking toward the main office, S. Catherine remarked to S. Roberta, “I hope I can make it to the end of the year without the students noticing this.” She was holding her hands, trying to stop their shaking. With effort, she did finish out the year. Her sister companions in Peoria were saddened to know that she would be leaving them for Nazareth Living Center.
In June of 1996 when preparing for that move, she was asked what her expectations of Nazareth were. She said, “I look forward to a life of prayer, joy and the same happiness I have experienced all 60 years as a Sister of St. Joseph in the past.” Sister Catherine celebrated her 70th jubilee in 2006. She was an example to all of us as she accepted her suffering with patience, good humor, and courage. May she rest in peace.
By S. Rita Louise Huebner