Sister Delores Wagner, OSB

March 26, 1939 - April 26, 2012

Sister Delores WagnerSister Delores Wagner, OSB, 73, a Benedictine Sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kans., died on April 26, 2012, at the monastery. The vigil will be Sunday, April 29, 7:00 p.m., in the monastery chapel and the Mass of Resurrection will be held there at 10:30 on Monday, April 30.

Sister Delores was born March 26, 1939, the third child of Lawrence M. and Juliana Mayr Wagner of St. Patrick's in rural Atchison. After graduation from Mount St. Scholastica Academy in 1957, she worked for several years as secretary for the Lockwood Company in Atchison before entering the Benedictine community in 1965. She graduated from Mount St. Scholastica College in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in education and a minor in religious studies. For the next nine years she taught elementary school at Sts. Peter and Paul, Seneca, Kans., and Our Lady of Unity, Kansas City, Kans. Registrar at Benedictine College from 1979 to 1988, she was named Benedictine College administrator/educator of the year in 1987.

From 1988 until her death she was secretary for the Mount community and also personal secretary to three prioresses. Active in her religious community, she was a member of the formation team and served several terms on the community senate. She was a member of the Kansas Association of Collegiate Registrars and of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars. Since 1979, she has been a notary public for the State of Kansas. Sister Delores was preceded in death by her parents and by her sister, Sister Rose Marie (Salome) Wagner, OSB, also a member of the Mount community. She is survived by her sister Stella Glennon, Atchison; her brother Lawrence James Wagner, Kansas City, Kans.; nieces and nephews, and her religious community.

Memorial donations may be made to the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica.

May she rest in peace and be remembered in our prayers. 

Memorial card for Sister Delores Wagner

O God, you are my God
whom I seek . . .
My soul clings fast to you,
Your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:1, 9

Sister Delores was the daughter of Lawrence M. and Juliana Mayr Wagner of rural Atchison. She entered the monastic community in 1965 and made profession in 1967. Her previous work experience as a secretary in Atchison business was a forerunner of the service she was to offer her community. A Mount St. Scholastica Academy graduate of 1957, she earned her bachelor's degree in education with a minor in religious studies from Mount St. Scholastica College in 1970. She taught elementary school until she became registrar of Benedictine College in 1979, and was Benedictine College Administrator/Educator of the year in 1987. From 1988 until her death, Sister Delores was secretary of the Mount community and has also been personal secretary to three prioresses. Discreet, focused and meticulous in her work, careful of confidentiality, she was attentive to anyone who asked for information or assistance. Her peaceful spirit made her a reconciler and a healer, a quiet, trustworthy and generous community member. Let us remember her gratefully in our prayers.

Reflection given at the Funeral Vigil

by Thomasita Homan, OSB

Scripture readings: Sirach 4:11-14; Romans 12: 4-13; John 14:1-6

We extend our sympathy to Sister Delores’ sister Stella and to her brother Larry; to her nieces and nephews and all her family; to her friends, prayer partners, and former students; to her classmates in community: Sisters Anne Shepard, Rita Killackey, Sharon Hamsa, and Rose Marie Stallbaumer; to Father Owen, and to all of us who have known and loved her. Like her parents, Julia and Lawrence, and like her younger sister, Sister Rose Marie, Delores has heard and responded peacefully to God’s invitation:

“Arise, my beloved, my lovely one, come...”

In our first reading this evening, Sirach describes Wisdom. Sister Delores knew and lived the description of Wisdom. She walked with Wisdom: she spoke gently, listened compassionately, and questioned. She held fast to prayer and community. She generously ministered to the needs of others. And, in these last two years, she suffered patiently and prayerfully.

Her ability to listen deeply and hold what she heard in confidence was one of her greatest gifts to community in her longest ministry, that of being community secretary and personal secretary to three prioresses. She knew what to say and when and where to say it. She knew when to be silent. Many of us may recall her way of changing the course of a conversation that had gone astray: she’d suddenly say, “So” (then pause) or “Anyway.” We’d take the hint. May we long remember her frequently repeated words, spoken for the smallest favor, the tiniest insight, or a witty remark: “That's good!” she'd say. “That's good!” She extended hospitality to all: her office door and heart were always open. That's good, Delores!

Sirach continues, “Whoever holds Wisdom fast inherits glory, and the Lord blesses the place she enters.” We who lived with Delores observed her holding Wisdom fast. Yes, the Lord blessed the offices, the classrooms, the community rooms, the chapels, the kitchens, the places Delores entered, for she brought with her Wisdom and a keen interest in others. She was a peaceful presence, fully focused on the task at hand.

I knew Delores in our Mount Academy days. Later, in community, we lived together at St. Catherine's and in Guardian Angels on 3rd floor monastery. I/we saw her living the reading from Romans about the body having many members with different gifts. She not only accepted our differences; she delighted in them. With a curious, sideways glance, she noticed and was grateful for all. There was a wholeness, a oneness about Delores’ life. She seemed to have a clear and deep understanding of God’s love calling her, calling all of us in community, in family, and in our world to be one.

Yet, she favored looking at the individual parts of a whole. For example, she liked a discussion on a single psalm or on a single verse from that psalm. She liked the gift of a single daisy. “One will do,” she’d smile. She treasured this line of a poem by e. e. cummings:
“…there’s nothing as something as One.”

In our third reading, John shows us Jesus who calms the hearts and answers the questions of all who ask: “Lord, where are you going? How can we know the way?” Reassuringly, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.

Delores, you know him and have seen him in both time and eternity.

May we here on earth now walk with greater wisdom and faith. May we respect and love the many members in the body of Christ, and someday, may we know and see face-to-face the God who makes us One.