Sister Edmunda Pusch, O.S.B.
January 10, 1909 - May 5, 2006
Sister Edmunda Pusch, O.S.B., 97, died at the Benedictine monastery, Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kansas, May 5, 2006. The vigil will be Sunday, May 7, at 7 pm, and the Mass of Resurrection will be offered Monday, May 8, at 10:30 am. Both services will be in the monastery chapel.
A native of Hanston, Kansas, Sister Edmunda lived much of her long life in Atchison. She graduated from St. Louis College, the first school the Benedictine Sisters began in Atchison. She entered the monastery in 1925, made first profession of vows in 1927 and final monastic profession in 1930. She served on many missions as cook and housekeeper, including Lillis High School, Kansas City, Mo.; St. Anthony School and Donnelly College, Kansas City, Kans., as well as other schools in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. Sister Edmunda was hospitality exemplar all her life, and saw to the needs of her sisters, the students, and guests with energy and joy. Baptized Mary, she was the only daughter of Ignatius and Mary Hahn Pusch. She was predeceased by them and by her brothers Leo and Edmund. Survivors include her sister-in-law Margaret Pusch, Atchison, and many nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kansas.
Let us remember her gratefully in our prayers.
From Sr. Edmunda's Memorial card
"Receive me, O Lord, as you have promised and I shall live."
– Monastic profession liturgy
A vowed monastic for 79 years, Sister Edmunda saw to the needs of her sisters all her life with energy and joy. She was cook, baker, coif maker, and housekeeper on missions and in college residence halls where she made lifelong friends among the students. In her unique, somewhat breathless delivery, she would share the state of community health, the success of a new dessert, the excellence of coif material, and how considerate the college students were at St. Ann’s residence hall. Her thoughts tumbled out in conversation and in her letters to sisters on the mission she prayed for. By the time she delivered the news with her usual verve, one had a sense of what was happening at home. The only daughter of Ignatius and Anna Hahn Pusch, she was devoted to her family, and visits from her brothers Edmund and Leo and their families added to the happiness with which she embraced life.Her loss of hearing was a great burden to her, decreasing easy conversation with her sisters even when her hearing aid was working. Filled with gratitude, prayerful, and hospitable to her sisters and to guests, she continued her steadfast reliance on God in her retirement years. Let us remember her lovingly in our prayer.
Reflection given at the Vigil Service
by Joan Offenburger, OSB
Readings: Proverbs 3:1-8, 13-18; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 10:7-10
In these few moments of prayer together we Sisters of the Mount, Sister Edmunda’s family, friends, and members of the Dooley Center staff, share a great deal. We share
a sense of loss of someone we have loved
the sustaining power of our faith which gives solace to grief
grateful thanks to God whose gift is that faith
continuing gratitude for the person we gather to pray for and commemorate
joy that one like us continues to show us the way to live – the way to God – her journey now completed.
The Scripture readings for this vigil service for our Sister, Edmunda, parallel the teachings found in the Rule of St. Benedict, sometimes using the same or similar words.. The passage from Proverbs might move us to remember what Benedict says in the Prologue, and in his early chapters on the tools of good works, on silence, obedience, humility, and in the later chapter on good zeal. 1st Peter and the brief reading from John’s Gospel pick up on major themes.
Proverbs invites us to listen to teaching, to be kind and faithful, to trust, to follow the path of peace, to be happy as we come to understand the ways of wisdom.
Peter’s strong foundation of faith is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the guarantee of our new birth to an imperishable inheritance and joy beyond expression.
And in John’s Gospel, Jesus proclaims: “My solemn word is this: I am the sheepgate. . . . I came that they might have life and have it to the full.”
What we have heard gives the core of the Christian message. But perhaps an even more direct and clearer understanding of that message comes from remembering how Sister Edmunda lived those teachings. When we see goodness enfleshed, the Gospel lived more and more by someone who started out like us, we are encouraged to keep trying ourselves, to be more helpful and loving to each other on our way to God, to look beyond ourselves and this community, to work and pray for the world every day. In her commentary on the Book of Proverbs and the search for wisdom, Sister Mary Irene has this telling comment: …”wisdom is based on common human experience. We are not born wise; we get that way by living.”
Sister Edmunda got wise by living. She welcomed us home from mission as if each of us were the only person arriving. She was interested in what we did. She shared her work and her thoughts. She made excuses for us when we didn’t quite measure up - but she didn’t judge us. She prayed for her Sisters living at Twin Pines. She entered into any community event with energy and excitement; she was in our midst as one who serves. She accepted the limitation poor hearing placed on her ability to share as she would have liked. She was good yeast. She surrounded us with love. She loved her family and looked forward to visiting them as long as she was able. And, she said, “I know they love me.”
Her companion, Sister Rosemary, told me the other day that Sister Edmunda was one of the most grateful persons she had ever known: she was always saying “Thank you.” I was reminded of that wonderful phrase my mother liked so well: “Gratitude, the Heart of Prayer.” Isn’t it a gift that Sister Edmunda has given us. She’s saying -
“Oh, be joyful. Be grateful. Alleluia!”