Women we mourn and admire

Marnie McAllister

Marnie McAllister

The Record has the privilege, sometimes every week, to publish the obituaries of clergy and religious who have served in the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Each obituary tells a story of a man or woman who dedicated decades of his or her life to meeting the corporal or spiritual needs of the people they encountered. If you read these stories carefully, they reveal the deep faith of their subjects and can be inspiring.

A letter to the editor this week on page 5 urges people to emulate the faith and generosity of Dominican Sister of Peace Theresina Greenwell, who lived in a mobile home into her 80s as she ministered to families at Christ the King Church in Tompkinsville, Ky. She died on July 1 at age 92 after more than 70 years of ministry.

This week’s paper carries the obituaries of two more faithful women — Sister of Charity of Nazareth Louellyn Russell and Sister of Mercy Mary Prisca Pfeffer.

Sister Russell served first as a teacher and later as a physical therapist and chaplain, serving aging sisters and others at Nazareth Home. She was 83 when she died on Aug. 12 and had served for 64 years.

Sister Pfeffer affected the lives of thousands of local women as a teacher and later as principal of Mercy Academy and as founding principal of Assumption High School. When she died on Aug. 12, she was 99 and had given more than 81 years of her life to God.

The service of these women is a gift to the Archdiocese of Louisville and something we should treasure.

One wonders sometimes how these women felt when they looked back on their lifetimes of service.

Sister Pfeffer offered an answer to that question during an interview in the fall of 2013 that’s worth repeating:

“I’ve been happy all my life,” she said. “I’m so thankful I’m a sister. … I’ve never been unhappy. I’ve just done God’s will.”

Her sense of satisfaction was a gift and it’s a gift available to us all when we open our hearts to God’s will.

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