Kind ... loving ... deeply spiritual
—Sister Ruth Stuckel
On April 4, 1921, Carl and Ruth (Theiss) Raupp of Decatur, Illinois, welcomed their daughter, Barbara Jean, the second child of three sons and five daughters. She was educated at St. James School, taught by Sisters of St. Francis, and St. Theresa’s High, taught by the Ursuline Sisters. Barbara entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on September 15, 1946. On March 19, 1947, she received the habit and the name Sister Ruth Margaret. She received her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Fontbonne College (1943) and her master’s in philosophy from St. Louis University (1955).
Sister Ruth Margaret taught elementary classes in St. Louis at All Saints (1949) and St. Anthony of Padua (1951). She began studying at St. Louis University in 1953. From January to August 1954, she taught at St. Patrick Grade School in St. Joseph, Missouri, and then St. Roch Grade School in St. Louis (1954). In 1955, she moved to Redemptorist High School in Kansas City, Missouri. Her next assignment was the Academy of Our Lady in Peoria, Illinois (1956-1964), where she was teacher and vice-principal, while studying guidance in the summers at Notre Dame as well. Her next seven years were spent at Fontbonne College in various roles: registrar, dean and board member.
In 1971, she was chosen for Sister Mary Laurent’s provincial council and regional superior, which she loved.
That was one of the most wonderful things that ever happened to me in my whole life … just talking with the sisters, visiting with them, staying overnight usually and having good conversations especially in the kitchens and at the tables.
In 1977, she was elected assistant provincial superior. When her term ended in 1984, she went on a sabbatical to Guelph, Canada, to make a 30-day retreat and ended up staying a year when asked to stay on as a director.
Sister Ruth next became a spiritual director in St. Louis (1986) and then responded to a call to be an assistant provincial house administrator (1987). In 1988, she became the provincial house co-administrator, all the while continuing her ministry of spiritual direction. Then, in 1991, she was called to Hawaii as the vice-province provincial.
Her three-year commitment stretched to three more years when she was re-elected. She returned to St. Louis in 1997 and was asked to be hospitality coordinator at Carondelet. From 2002 to 2008, Sister Ruth Margaret volunteered at Carondelet Literacy Center in addition to being a hospitality liaison at St. Joseph Provincial House from 2002 to 2011. She then retired to Nazareth Living Center.
Sister Ruth Margaret was a true community woman. She loved the Community and living in community. Relationships were very important to her … She always had time for people and gave each person her undivided attention. She was truly present.
S. Angela Faustina (Hawaii)
She was always patient, kind, but firm, and sensitive to the needs of different students. She was fun to be around after classes … Sister was our school guidance counselor … [Suggesting] I might want to pick up some college catalogs … [she] started to hand them to me, then looked directly at me asking if there was something else I’d rather talk about. That was the ice-breaker from which flowed many good conversations and why now I’m a Sister of St. Joseph. S. Adele Marie Rothan
Sister Ruth Margaret was definitely a relational person. It was important to her to sit down and spend time with people ... [She] was a firm believer in prayer, discernment, spiritual direction, and retreats. S. Patty Chang (Hawaii/Los Angeles)
Sister Ruth Margaret was a deeply spiritual woman ... she befriended me when I returned from Peru in 2000 after 33 years in the vice province. She has been a blessing in my life.
S. Mary Kay Kottenstette
Sister Helen Oates