sister rosarita allen
April 25, 1921 – June 17, 2008
“What shall I return to the Lord for all He has given to me? My life? EXACTLY!” With these words, S. Rosarita Allen opened her short autobiography. Within that brief piece, however, she makes one point very clear: that she loved God and was forever grateful for her call to religious life.
Rosemary Allen was born with her twin sister, Rita, on April 25, 1921, in Kansas City, Kan. When the girls were two years old, the family moved to Kansas City, Mo. The sisters met the Sisters of St. Joseph for the first time at Redemptorist High School and later at St. Teresa’s Junior College. After just one year of college, Rosemary entered the community, while Rita began nurses’ training at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
At the center of a happy, wholesome family life was their love and devotion to God. Together the family attended Lenten services on Wednesday evenings and Stations of the Cross on Fridays. At Christmas time, it was only after attending Mass to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, did the family members open their gifts. When the girls were seniors in high school, their brother Dick was born. Rosemary found it difficult to leave this beloved baby brother when she entered the community.
Rosemary entered the community in February 1940 and received the habit and the name S. Rosarita on August 15 of that year. Soon after first profession in 1942, she began her long association with elementary education, either as teacher or as a learning center coordinator. She taught at St. Edward School, Sts. Mary and Joseph School, and Immacolata School in St. Louis, Mo.; St. Mary School, Waco, Texas; St. Mary School, Littleton, Colo.; and Visitation School, Kansas City, Mo. Her most extensive assignment was at Our Lady of Lourdes School in Raytown, Mo., where she not only taught religion, (1975 – 1989) but was the Learning/Resource Center Coordinator (1975 – 2001)
It was while she was at this last mentioned school and local community that sisters have the fondest memories of S. Rosarita. Her day began early with her faithful prayer in chapel. Generous in community, she never minded hard work. She could be counted on to pitch in when help was needed on any project. Kind, pleasant, and self-effacing, she was grateful for anything anyone did for her or for the community.
When Our Lady of Lourdes Convent closed, she was the last to move out. Just previously, she had seen her dearest friend S. Anita Pitzer off to Nazareth. After the closing of this large convent, S. Rosarita formed a new community with Srs. Ruth Stuckel, Ann Strizek and Barbara Moore on Wornall Road near Avila. Initially she continued her tutoring at Our Lady of Lourdes, but within a short time, she took an entirely new path when she became a vital member of CSJ Home Care under the direction of S. Annette Schorman.
S. Rosarita gave herself wholeheartedly to this new challenge and went out of her way to make her visits with her clients interesting and fun. From the public library she obtained books, atlases, etc., according to an individual’s interests. Or she might bring checker boards or cards if she knew her companion had that bent. With these adventures, S. Rosarita came alive herself, much like the beautiful blossoming almond bush she so enjoyed each spring outside their Wornall home.
When in 2006 S. Rosarita learned she had cancer, she determined to go to Nazareth. Her friends, nearly every sister and associate in Kansas City, and her Lourdes’ colleagues gave her a grand farewell “Send Off.” Such an outpouring of love attests to how her thoughtfulness and great generosity of spirit touched many lives. S. Rosarita closes her autobiography thus: “If I had it to do all over again, would I say YES to God? You bet I would! This I ask of the Lord, to remain in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”
S. Rita Louise Huebner