Sister Bernadette (Mary Ernest) Havlik, OSB

December 14, 1923 - September 15, 2011

Sister Bernadette (Mary Ernest) Havlik, OSB, 87, a Benedictine Sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kans., died September 15, 2011 at the monastery. The vigil will be in the monastery chapel Monday evening, September 19, at 7 pm, and the Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated there Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 10:30 am.

Bernadette Havlik, OSBSister Bernadette Havlik, OSB Sister Bernadette was born December 14, 1923, in Bison, Okla., to Frank J. and Anna Pribyl Havlik. She was the second youngest daughter in a family of five boys and four girls. She graduated from St. Joseph School in Bison and from Sacred Heart Academy (now Benet Academy) in Lisle, Ill. She entered the Mount community in 1944 and made monastic profession in August, 1945. Sister Bernadette earned the B.A. in biology with minors in English and education from Mount St. Scholastica College (now Benedictine College), the Master's in Educational Administration from St. Louis University, St. Louis, Mo., and did further study at the University of Detroit, Mich. From 1945 to 1988 she taught in community schools in Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado, serving also as principal at Brookfield and Palmyra in Missouri, and at Westphalia, Blaine, Ottawa, and Hanover in Kansas. Sister Bernadette was subprioress at Mount St. Scholastica 1988-1999, and also served as a member of the community council and senate and as sacristan. She was a longtime member of the quilting team whose work was sought after at the community's gift shop and annual Night of Dreams benefit auction.

Sister Bernadette was predeceased by her parents, by her brothers Dr. Aloysius, Rt. Rev. Thomas, abbot of St. Procopius, Lisle, Ill., Rev. Bernard, Ernest and Norbert, and by her sisters Adella and Georgiana. She is survived by her sister Helen, of Carlsbad, New Mexico, nieces and nephews, and her monastic family.

Let us remember her gratefully in our prayers.


S. Bernadette's memorial card:

"I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith."

2 Timothy 4:7

Sister Bernadette, daughter of Frank J. and Anna Pribyl Havlik of Bison, Okla., went to grade school in Bison, and to Sacred Heart Academy (now Benet Academy) in Lisle, Illinois. She attended Mount St. Scholastica College for three years and entered the community in 1944. She made monastic profession in 1945, taught, and earned her BA in biology with minors in English and education from the Mount. She received her Master's in educational administration from St. Louis University and did further study at the University of Detroit. Sister Bernadette taught in community schools in Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado for more than 40 years, serving also as principal for 20 of those years. In 1988, she became subprioress, was a member of the monastic council and senate, and later continued to serve her community as sacristan and as a talented and faithful quilter. She treasured her roots in family, community, and vocation. Outgoing, enthusiastic, concerned, disciplined, a hard worker and someone who liked a good party, she reveled in providing good work and good times. She was happy helping others to be happy, and continued to be patient and courageous in her illness. Let us remember her in grateful prayer.


Reflection for the Vigil Service 

by Mary Agnes Patterson, OSB

Tonight we pray for Sister Bernadette Havlik who kept the faith and finished the race. She fought the good fight and now enjoys the fullness of friendship with God face to face. In our faith and hope we rejoice for Sister Bernadette even though our hearts are heavy. We offer our prayerful support to Helen and to the Havlik family – her nieces and nephews and their children that Helen and Bernadette are so proud of and feel so close to.

The readings Sister Bernadette selected for this vigil are certainly rich in meaning and point to what she treasured in her heart. For her it was God, family, community and work. I believe Bernadette started calling on God and praying for understanding early in life as a child does when her parent dies. The faith of her family was deep and their support for one another knit them into a strong family. They enjoyed many good times together and so many people were welcome at the Havlik home.

Bernadette was very pleased that she was able to help Georgiana, Norbert and Ernest at the home place in Bison, OK. She and Helen were so devoted in caring for them and for Georgiana when she was here at Dooley Center.

We all know Bernadette loved life and enjoyed people. She loved the little children she taught. She made school fun and was not afraid to try new things. She even sent a note home from school one year and told the parents to let the children wear old clothes the last day. She went on the playground with them and had a water balloon toss and she joined right in and let the children get her all wet. That was pretty good for a nun – and may have been a first. She made many friends with pastors, parents, parishioners and co-workers during her years in education.

From working with Bernadette, I know how she loved a good party. She liked to laugh and to make people happy. She was a hard worker and I know she learned that from her Czech family. She had hard work at home and when she entered here she found lots more of the same. She was often on small -- 2 sister -- missions and had more than one grade in her classroom. She was a musician so she had the choir and music lessons also. She was always happy to come to the Mount for summers and was willing to help out anywhere.

“Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” Bernadette had a childlike joy about her. She was willing to try different things to make people happy. Whether coming into the dining room during dinner dressed as St. Nicholas to pass out our popcorn balls or planning her recent hobo dinner for her co-workers and friends, she did it all with a happy spirit. She had fun in life and made life fun for others.

Her final days were filled with a childlike trust in God’s presence and love. She was not fearful of death – she was ready to meet her creator. She knew her end was near and she did not seem to have any regrets about her life. She had time to plan her final party – her open house at the “Sooner Ranch” – when Helen came and she enjoyed it to the full.

Let us rejoice for Bernadette that she is now at rest in God’s loving embrace. May she rest in peace.