sister rose weber


June 24, 1926 - August 25, 2011

Loving, gentle presence to many

Sister Rose was born June 24, 1926, in Chicago, Ill., and named Margaret Anne, after her mother who died shortly after the birth of S. Rose and her twin sister, Betty. Her father remarried, and the family grew with the births of a younger sister, Marita Monica, and brother, James Rodrick. The family cared for and loved an older child, Gregory Allen, who died of congestive heart failure at a young age.

Mr. Weber's job transferred him to St. Louis in the early 1940s. After the family moved, S. Rose completed her senior year of high school at Rosati-Kain. To prove to her parents that she was serious about entering the convent, she got a job so as to have money for her dowry. Her wish to become a Sister of St. Joseph was realized when she left home in February 1945. In August of that year, she became a novice and received a new name, S. Rose Angela.

After her profession in 1947, she began her ministry of teaching for the next 25 years. As a first grade teacher, S. Rose felt she was successful, especially since she had wanted to be a nurse at the outset. Her first assignment was St. Viator School in Chicago; after three years in St. Louis, she returned to St. Viator's. From there she moved to Marquette, Mich.; Inglewood, Colo.; and back to Michigan at St. John's in Ishpeming. She finished out her teaching in Missouri: Raytown, Sedalia, St. Louis, Montgomery City and Vinita Park. Except for one year in the intermediate grades, S. Rose taught only first grade.

When she reached age 50, she wanted a new adventure. While teaching at Holy Guardian Angels School she would visit patients at City Hospital. These visits, she said, "sparked a yearning to be with the sick." Her early dream was coming to fruition in a new way. She began slowly by volunteering in the summer of 1974 at St. Joseph Hospital in Kirkwood where she engaged with the newly admitted and surgical patients. When she learned about an excellent pastoral ministry program being planned in the St. Paul province, S. Rose decided to enroll.

Eventually she found her niche: in pastoral care at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Belleville, Ill., and at St. Joseph Hospital in St. Charles, Mo.; as a pastoral associate at DePaul Community Health Center in St. Louis; and finally, after she received her certification in 1996, as a hospital chaplain, also at DePaul Community Health Center. In this second half of her life, she had realized an early dream, but differently, not as a nurse, but as a comforter of the sick nonetheless.

S. Rose suffered a mild heart attack in January 1996. She was able to accept this difficulty with courage because, she said, she knew God would protect her. After all, she noted, God had been there for her as she had twice battled breast cancer. However, knowing that her memory was failing her and suffering somewhat with congestive heart failure, S. Rose decided to retire to Nazareth in 2002.

S. Rose's great desire was to be a loving Sister of St. Joseph. She received that grace in abundance. As she had comforted the sick while actively engaged in ministry, at Nazareth Living Center, too, she was a comfort to all whose lives she touched. Often she prayed before the Blessed Sacrament-for her family, friends, and the many patients who had crossed her life and touched her heart.

S. Rose suffered a stroke in May and received a pacemaker on May 17. During the time leading up to her death, S. Rose accepted God's will for herself. She never complained and was always thanking her nurses and other caregivers. Her family was attentive and present to her the last few days. May the God she loved and served her whole life welcome her into everlasting life.

S. Kathleen Karbowski
S. Rita Louise Huebner

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