Sister Aurelia (Mary Xavier) Fox, O.S.B.

August 27, 1928 – October 19, 2007

Sister Aurelia Fox, OSB, a Benedictine of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kansas, died Friday, October 19, 2007, at the monastery. The vigil will be Sunday, October 21, at 7 p.m. at Mount St. Scholastica and the Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated there on Monday, October 22, at 10:30.

Sister Aurelia Fox%2C OSBSister Aurelia was born August 27, 1928, the daughter of Sylvester and Elizabeth Bohern Fox. She was a member of Sacred Heart Church, Baileyville, Kansas, until she entered Mount St. Scholastica in 1945. She made monastic profession Dec. 22, 1946. Sister Aurelia was a graduate of Mount St. Scholastica College with a Bachelor of Science degree in education with minors in history and English. She earned the Master’s degree in education/ school administration from the University of Detroit.

Sister Aurelia was teacher and principal between 1947 and 1979, spending most of her career in Kansas City schools – at Sacred Heart, St. Anthony’s, St. Joseph, Shawnee, Kans., and St. Bernadette’s, Kansas City, Mo.  She was chaplain at Bethany Hospital, Kansas City, Kans., and St. Mary Hospital, Manhattan, Kans. She continued pastoral and home care ministry for the aging in Manhattan and Junction City, Kans., and assisted briefly as receptionist at Dooley Center, Atchison.

Sister Aurelia was predeceased by her parents; by her brothers Ignatius, Vincent, Sylvester, Donald, Albert, Benedict, and Raymond. She is survived by her sisters Mildred Oenbring, Seneca, Kans.; and Loretta Fox Jurko, Oklahoma City, Okla.; by her sister-in-law, Lucille Fox, and by nieces and nephews, and by her monastic community. Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica. 

Let us remember her gratefully in our prayers. 

S.Aurelia memorial card

“I will not forget you . . . 
I have carved you
on the palm of my hand.” 
Isaiah 49:15 

Sister Aurelia Fox was the daughter of Albert J. and Elizabeth Bohern Fox, and grew up in Sacred Heart parish, Baileyville, Kans. She entered Mount St. Scholastica after her junior year in high school and graduated from the Mount Academy within the same year - 1945. Sister Aurelia, then Sister Mary Xavier, made monastic profession Dec. 22, 1946. She earned the Bachelor of Science in education from Mount St. Scholastica College with minors in English and history, and the Master’s in education/school administration from the University of Detroit. In her more than 60 years in community, she was teacher and principal in elementary schools, parish assistant, and a member of the International Reading Association, the Mathematics Association, and the National Catholic Education Association. She was a chaplain at  hospitals in  Kansas City, Kans., and Manhattan, Kans., cared for the elderly, became a certified catechist in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, and was regional director of a four-state area for Families for Prayer.  Sister Aurelia had a tender spirit, was attentive to people and sensitive to suffering. She was an earnest and welcoming Partner in Prayer with Benedictine College students. Let us remember her gratefully in prayer.

Reflection given at the Vigil Service 

by Sister Noreen Hurter, OSB

This evening we gather for and with Sister Aurelia as our prayers rise to the Lord and to her in His Presence and we celebrate this moment in our time as she begins her life in eternity. With our prayers we offer our thanksgiving for the time Sister Aurelia was among us-- as part of our family, as our friend, sister, teacher in many ways, as prayerful companion on her way through her 79 years of life and more than 60 years in community.

We offer our sympathy and prayers to her family, her sisters, Millie and Loretta, her sisters-in-law, Lucille and Margie, and to her nieces, nephews, classmates, and friends. She was one of ten children born to Sylvester and Elizabeth Fox. Her parents and her seven brothers–Ignatius, Vincent, Sylvester, Donald, Albert, Benedict, and Raymond-- preceded her in death. All of her family were very special to Sister Aurelia and very present in her thoughts, love, and prayers and now I am sure that she will be a strong advocate in telling the Lord of present and future needs and desires.

There are several lines in each of the readings this evening that seemed to speak directly to or about Sister Aurelia. We heard in Isaiah, “On this mountain the Lord will destroy the shroud that covers the people–the Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces.–for this is the Lord for whom we have waited, let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

For her, illness was like a shroud, covering her, increasing each day and widening that separation from us and from realty as the stages of her illness seemed to gradually enveloped her whole being. And then on Friday evening the Lord, for whom she was waiting, added for her hearing, the verse she had chosen as a favorite-- “See, I will not forget you, I have carved you on the palm of my hand.” And from the palm of his hand and with the help of that hand she was raised up to the full presence of the Lord. And her leaving us and the loss that is felt can only be united with rejoicing that she has been released from the long suffering she experienced.

St. John reminds us that the commandment given us is to love one another and that our love should not be in word or speech but in truth and in action. In her classroom and in the Principal’s office also Sister Aurelia was indeed a teacher, a very good teacher, who loved in truth and action those whom she taught through her first 33 years of active ministry. Education was important to her in the formation of the minds and hearts of her students as well as imparting the knowledge and understanding of the academic lessons that were being taught at the time. Her love for Mary and the Rosary led her into participating in the Father Peyton program “The Family that Prayers Together, Stays Together” enabling her to share this devotion with others and in some instances to bring new understanding of the Rosary into the lives of many. She was the Regional Coordinator of the program for the four state area of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. After 3 years in this program, the total manner of its administration was revamped and she decided to moved into another area of her ministry for caring for others. Completing the program of Pastoral Ministry Preparation at Bethany Medical Center she became part of its Pastoral Care staff and remained there for 4 years. Following her time at Bethany she moved to St. Mary’s Hospital in Manhattan, Kansas where she served for 5 years. She and Sister Nicole then went to Junction City, Kansas where for the next 4 years they served the people in a program of Pastoral Home Care –where there was a need they were there. In 1995 Sister Aurelia returned to the Mount where again she was engaged in programs helping others–at Benedictine College Library, TMCC working with the Daycare children for several years and then her final active ministry as receptionist at Dooley Center. Truly the words of the Gospel reading, “As long as you did this for one of the least of those who are members of my family, you did it to me,” describes the fulness of her life of service in so many areas of “giving” ministries.

Sister Aurelia was also active in the preparation and sharing of the travel arrangements and plans for the scheduled trips to the Holy Land sponsored by Sisters Nicole and Rosina for a number of years. These trips were well planned and attracted many participants who were grateful for the opportunities offered.

Hers was a simple approach to living–what was to be done should be done well. And so it was. .
Sincere, prayerful, joyful, earnest, caring, loving, appreciative–these are the words many have indicated as descriptive of her presence among them. And although her health was not too good at times, she never waived in the performance of her duties nor slacked off in the manner of their performance

Although she loved those whom she served, her positive attitude may not have always received a similar reciprocal response. I’m sure she suffered at such times but her faith was strong and her trust in God’s presence carried her with renewed commitment through such situations. Nothing changed the sincerity of her love and caring and her belief in others.

And so we gather tonight asking prayerful blessing on Sister Aurelia as she is welcomed by God, all the heavenly hosts, by family, community members and friends into the heavenly Jerusalem and at this moment also, I’m sure she has heard those words again, “See, I will not forget–I did not forget you, I have carved you on the palm of my hand. . .”

Sister Aurelia’s gift to us now in the remembrance of her caring and loving actions invites us to our deeper sharing in similar ways as we make our way through this journey of life. Again we thank you Sister, for your presence among us in life, we ask your continued prayerful presence in community, and to help us always to be mindful of the promise of the Lord to continually hold us in the palm of his hand.