sister maureen streitmiller

streitmiller

June 14, 1935 - May 21, 2011

"A full life to the end"

As she had wished, Sister Maureen Streitmiller's life was "full to the end." Her courageous and generous spirit helped her not only to meet head on all that she faced but to thrive in whatever roles in life she moved: teacher, administrator, caregiver for her mother, pastoral associate, associate co-director, chaplain and, above all, community member and friend.

S. Maureen grew up an only child in Peoria, Ill., and she knew early on she wanted to be a sister, having told her mother that wish when she was in the third grade. She had a knack for making and keeping friends, always loyal to her roots and touching base with those who shared them with her. Peoria, with all its memories of friends and high school days at the Academy of Our Lady, found a special niche in her heart.

Her dream of becoming a sister was realized in 1953 when she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph at Carondelet. After years of formation she began her formal ministry in 1956 as an elementary school teacher/administrator. S. Maureen served in many parochial schools, from Marquette to Marietta, and from St. Louis to Peoria. As principal, she always felt she "ran a good school." Parents and teachers alike attested to S. Maureen's commitment to education and to the fruitful working relationships she established with them.

But other needs called to her heart. After a brief stint at St. Joseph Academy in Green Bay and then a two-year sabbatical at Emmaus House in St. Louis, S. Maureen was determined to work more closely in adult faith formation as a pastoral associate. At St. Timothy Parish in St. Louis she directed the RCIA program (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) where she said, "The dear neighbor, not even knowing it, participated in the sharing of the heart." Truly she was touched by these candidates' stories of faith and search for God. She herself was a superb mentor.

Convinced that God was enough for her, S. Maureen dared to enter upon another new facet of life, this time as a chaplain at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis. With CPE certification and drawing upon her life experiences for support and inspiration, she was a steady and comforting presence to the children and their parents in times of great need. She shared many a tear and great many joys as well during her time with those "dear little neighbors."

Finally, S. Maureen did not hesitate to accept the position of coordinator/director of Association and Partnerships when tapped to assume that responsibility. With candidates she took time to listen and to share, making all feel accepted and gifted. She especially liked to visit associates at their locations and would travel the province to support them in their commitments and faith life. As a prayerful person, she placed her trust in God, always working in collaboration with others to make the program beneficial and life-giving. Diana Oleskevich, her co-director, remembers the two of them praying together daily while on their journey to the Upper Peninsula and  laughing and telling stories as they crossed Lake Michigan on a ferry.

When S. Maureen learned she had cancer, she did not flinch but embraced it diligently, relying upon God for the decisions she needed to make, for energy and for hope. Her transformative image of God brought her to a deeper love of herself and to a more compassionate presence for others who suffered similarly. Definitely it was her deep relationship with God that enabled her to remain positive and joyful and to soar in spirit despite the fact that she was diminishing in body.

Throughout all her life, S. Maureen remained grateful and loyal to her friends, especially S. Celine Birk, to former pastors and co-workers, to her dear associates and to her sisters in community. Surrounding herself as she did with such beloved relationships, her life was, indeed, full to the end as she had wished.

S. Rita Louise Huebner

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