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Obituaries - October 2017

The Northern Cross - October 2017

Benedictine Sister Mary Felten

Benedictine Sister Mary Felten, 83, died on Aug. 23 at the Benedictine Living Community in Duluth. She was born Mary Catherine Felten on July 3, 1934, to Henry and Eleanore (Schwoerer) Felten at their family farm home in East Wrightstown, Wis. She was the fourth of six children and the oldest girl. A gifted student, Sister Mary was recruited to come to the College of St. Scholastica by Sister Monica Simon and Sister Prudentia Moran.

Sister Mary loved the divine office and the prayer of the sisters and felt drawn to Benedictine life. She loved teaching and attained many degrees to prepare herself for the ministry of education from the University of Wisconsin Superior: a bachelor’s degree in education (1961), master’s degree in education administration (1966), and master’s degree in counseling for education with a specialty in psychological counseling (1973). Her deep love for the church prompted her to pursue post-graduate training in theology, Scriptural studies, and liturgy as well as several certificates in religious education.

Sister Mary served as a teacher at St. Thomas School, International Falls, and Our Lady of Victory School, Minneapolis. She was a counselor at St. Bridget’s School, Minneapolis, and the College of St. Scholastica. She served as principal for St. Mary’s School in Stockbridge, Wis., St. Hubert’s in Hubertus, Wis., and St. Mary’s School in Richland Center, Wis. She was assisted in her ministry by her dear friend Benedictine Sister Valeria Lessard.

Sister Mary and Sister Valeria returned to the monastery in 1997, having “retired.” Sister Mary taught religion for several years at the Cathedral School in Superior, Wis. She coordinated the hospitality ministry of the information desk for many years. She was a generous volunteer outdoors as well, harvesting and cutting rhubarb, and caring for the Stations of the Cross in the sisters’ cemetery. She loved nature, and when she was well, she would rarely let a day go by without going for a walk. She also loved to visit Benedictine cabin at Lake Placid and enabled many infirm sisters to get up to the lake to enjoy the beauty of creation. She loved wildlife but had an especially soft spot for her “bunnies.”

When she was well, she loved traveling with Sister Valeria to visit her family in Canada. She also enjoyed classical music and reading and was a very faithful correspondent, never missing special occasions for her family and the sisters.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers George and Leo. She is survived by her sister, Ann; her brothers Walter and Jerome; many other family members and friends; and the sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held Sept. 1 in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel at St. Scholastica Monastery. The presider was Father Kevin Gordon of the Diocese of Superior. Burial is at Gethsemane Cemetery. Memorials to St. Scholastica Monastery are preferred.

Benedictine Sister Mary Hope Novak

Benedictine Sister Mary Hope Novak died on Sept. 13 in Benet Hall at St. Scholastica Monastery. She was in her 73rd year of monastic profession.

Born in Virginia Nov. 26, 1923, Katherine Terese was the seventh of Frank and Rose (Skrabec) Novak’s nine children. She graduated from Virginia High School before entering St. Scholastica Monastery in 1941. Sister took her perpetual vows on July 11, 1946, celebrated her silver jubilee in 1968, her golden jubilee in 1993, and her diamond jubilees in 2003 and 2013.

Sister Mary Hope earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the the College of St. Scholastica. Her teaching career spanned 26 years in Duluth Catholic grade schools. She also served as a principal at Marquette School in Virginia from 1968-1970. She found joy in preparing children for First Communion at Sacred Heart School for 13 years.

Following her years as an elementary school teacher and principal, Sister Mary Hope was sent to Hibbing General Hospital, where she worked in the business office and nursing service as an administrative clerk. She also was secretary of the Hibbing Medical Foundation in the early 1970s.

When she returned to the monastery, she was made coordinator of community renewal and served as the purchaser for the monastery. In 1975, she took charge of the monastery greenhouse, where she provided good instruction to buyers about the care of the plants.

In her assignment as purchaser, Sister Mary Hope was responsible for distributing various material goods collected by sisters for appropriate charities. She became curious about antiques, which led to creating an antique shop called “This and That,” housed in the college’s Tower Hall. She learned to repair items, especially old watches and clocks. She once declared, “If you can read, you can do anything.” This belief served her and her community well.

Sister Mary Hope was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Rose Novak; her brothers, Frank, Vincent, John, Joseph, William, and Daniel; and her sisters, Rose, Ann, Mary, and Bertha. She is survived by sisters-inlaws Maryanne Novak and Stephana (Mary) Novak, many nieces and nephews, and the sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery.

Mass of Christian Burial was held Sept. 23 2017 in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel, Father Brian Schultz presiding. Interment is in Gethsemane Cemetery. Memorials to St. Scholastica Monastery are preferred.

Benedictine Sister Judith Oland

Benedictine Sister Judith Ann (formerly Justin) Oland died in Benet Hall at St. Scholastica Monastery on Sept. 11. She entered the Duluth Benedictines on Sept. 8, 1961, and made her monastic profession on July 11, 1963.

Sister Judith Ann was born in Hibbing and graduated from Denfeld High School in Duluth. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the College of St. Scholastica and her master’s degree in Theology from St. John’s University, Collegeville. Sister Judith Ann taught in the elementary schools at St. Mary’s, Pine City; St. Joseph’s, Grand Rapids; and St. Jean’s, Duluth. Subsequently, she served as pastoral associate in Clara City, Lake Lilian, and Kandiyohi, Minnesota. After earning certification as a clinical pastoral education supervisor, she served as chaplain and CPE supervisor in the Wilmar State Hospital.

In 1989, Sister Judith Ann returned to the monastery to become vocation director and associate director of formation for the sisters in triennial profession. In 1991, she became clinical pastoral education coordinator and CPE supervisor at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center, Duluth, where she served until she retired on June 4, 2017. Sister Judith Ann was preceded in death by her father, Norman Oland; her mother, Rose “Rhoda” Maras Bjork; and her brother, Thomas Oland. She is survived by her sister, Wanda Oland-Johnson (Duane Johnson), step-sister Julee Williams, niece Paige (Bruce) Jenson, grandnephews, Daniel and Max Jensen, and her Benedictine sisters.

A wake service/morning prayer with visitation was held Monday, Sept. 18, in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel. The Mass of Christian Burial was held Sept. 18 in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel, with Father Tom Foster presiding. Sister Judith Ann is buried in Gethsemane Cemetery at St. Scholastica Monastery. Memorials to St. Scholastica Monastery are preferred.