Sister Ingrid Luukkonen, teacher, missioner, minister
Sister Ingrid Luukkonen, OSB, 87, died Jan. 30 at St. Scholastica Monastery. Born in Zim, she was the daughter of Albert and Helmi Luukkonen.
Sister Ingrid entered St. Scholastica Monastery in 1956 as a postulant; she professed her triennial vows on July 11, 1958 and her perpetual vows on July 11, 1963. She began her teaching career at St. Anthony in Duluth where she taught fifth- and sixth-graders from 1959-61. Then she was assigned to Our Lady of Victory School in Minneapolis and taught first and second grades from 1961-66.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in education with a minor in sociology from the College of St. Scholastica.
In 1967, Sister Ingrid volunteered to live and work among the poor at Salar del Carmen in Antofagasta, Chile. Although she was not familiar with the culture or the people or fluent in Spanish, she became immersed in the community, forming classes ranging from cooking to Bible study to church and family issues. She returned to the monastery in 1974, where she served as vocation director from 1975-81.
She earned a master’s degree in pastoral ministry, adult education, from Loyola University, and served as a parish minister at St. Thomas, International Falls, from 1982-2001. From 2001-09, Sister Ingrid volunteered at St. Thomas as a senior companion.
Sister Ingrid was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers Everett, Victor, Jalmer J., Roy W., Jack A., and Warner B. Luukkonen; and by her sister Marian Koski. She is survived by her brothers Edwin and Raymond, by her sisters Esther Koivunen and Lorraine Aho, nieces, nephews, and the sisters of the monastery.
Mass of Christian Burial was Feb. 7 in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel at the monastery. Interment is in Gethsemane Cemetery. Memorials to St. Scholastica Monastery are preferred.
Sister Agatha, chemist, award-winning teacher
Sister Agatha Riehl, OSB, 93, died Feb. 7 at St. Scholastica Monastery. Born in Raleigh, N.D., Feb. 17, 1921, she was the daughter of Melchior and Emma (Wagner) Riehl.
Sister was raised on a farm in North Dakota where she and her six siblings spoke only German at home. When in the seventh grade, she passed a test that would allow her to attend Stanbrook Hall for her high school years, since there was no high school in the area where she lived. While she struggled with English at first, she overcame her difficulty and became an honor student. She entered St. Scholastica Monastery in 1938.
Sister Agatha professed her triennial vows on July 11, 1940, and her perpetual vows on July 11, 1943. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from the College of St. Scholastica in 1942. Sister Agatha was a talented scholar who discovered that she had a proclivity toward chemistry and analytical studies. In 1942, the archbishop of Cincinnati gave an open invitation for several sisters to study cancer at a research facility, Institutum Divi Thomae. Sister Agatha was awarded a scholarship to participate in the program and returned to the College of St. Scholastica in 1945 with a master’s degree in biochemistry. She was co-founder with Sister Petra Lenta of a research laboratory at the College of St. Scholastica, taught chemistry half time, and continued cancer research half time. She and Sister Petra published a number of articles from 1949-60 on their cancer research.
In 1958, Sister Agatha began graduate work in organic chemistry at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where she earned her doctorate in 1965, and returned to the College of St. Scholastica as a professor of chemistry, teaching full time from 1966-96.
She was the first recipient of the prestigious Max H. Lavine Award for Teaching Excellence in 1978. She retired from teaching in 1998.
Sister Agatha was preceded in death by her parents, Melchior and Emma Riehl, and her brother Eugene. Besides the sisters of St. Scholastica, she is survived by her brothers Emil and Theodore and her sisters Dorothy Leader, Alvina Wang, and Sister Claudia, OSB, and many devoted nieces, nephews, friends and colleagues. Mass of Christian Burial was Feb. 14 in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel at the monastery. Interment is at Gethsemane Cemetery. Memorials to St. Scholastica Monastery are preferred.