Sister Mariella Pucka, O.S.B.

May 15, 1932 – June 1, 2009

Sister Sister Mariella Pucka, OSB, 77, a Benedictine Sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kans., died at the monastery Monday, June 1, 2009. A vigil service will be Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 7 p.m., in the monastery chapel and the Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated there Thursday, June 4, 2009, at 10:30 a.m.

Sister Mariella Pucka%2C OSBSister Mariella was born to Leo and Hilda Geisen Pucka with her twin sister May 15, 1932. For a time, the family lived in Springfield, Ill., and then returned to Atchison. Sister Mariella was a graduate of Mount St. Scholastica Academy and Mount St. Scholastica College. She entered the Mount community June 12, 1954, and made monastic profession Dec. 13, 1955. For some 25 years, she gave first graders a firm and happy start in Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa schools. She also served at Mineiros, Goias, Brazil, in the 1970’s, helping in parish work at the Mount’s dependent priory there. Sister Mariella also ministered to the aging at Holy Name, Topeka, Kans. When she returned to Atchison, she was hospitality minister and director of housekeeping. She was preceded in death by her parents. Survivors include her twin, Mildred H. (Pat ) Morley of Atchison and their children, and by her monastic family. Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica.

Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica. 

Let us remember her gratefully in our prayers. 

S. Mariella's memorial card

“Steadfast is God’s kindness toward us;
The fidelity of the Lord endures forever.”
Ps. 117:2

Sister Mariella Pucka was a happy sprite of a woman with merry eyes. She was quick in movement, in speech, in recognizing what needed to be done and in wanting to do “it” as perfectly as possible. She loved the primary school children she taught in Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa, her Partners in Prayer from Benedictine College, the staffs she worked with in hospitality to guests and in monastery housekeeping, and those she met as receptionist at The Mount Community Center. She loved and reverenced the people with whom she ministered during her years at Mineiros, Brazil, and in pastoral ministry in several parishes of the archdiocese. Sister Mariella was a “people person,” kind and compassionate, sometimes stern, always alert to welcome. She was loyal to friends, especially her fellow graduates of the Mount Academy. Sister Mariella and her twin Mildred were born to Leo and Hilda Geisen Pucka in Atchison in 1932. Sister Mariella entered the Mount community in 1954, made monastic profession in 1955 and happily celebrated her golden jubilee of monastic profession in 2005. She enjoyed travel, relishing similarities among peoples and the beauty of their differences. Let us remember her gratefully in prayer.

Reflection given at the Funeral Vigil

by Thomasita Homan, OSB

Readings: Sirach 2:2-11; 2 Cor 4:6-11; Matthew 11:25-30

We extend our sympathy and peace to Sister Mariella’s twin sister Millie and her husband Pat; to her nephew Kevin, her nieces Patti and Diane and their families; and to the families of her faithful prayer partners: Carrie and Tom, Beth and Ted, and Rachel Toner; and to Corrine Murphy and the many people whose lives she has touched in her teaching, hospitality, housekeeping, and other ministries the states and in Brazil. We shall all miss Sister Mariella who waited in hope, trusting in the God who prepares each of us for eternity.

This is our evening of hope; this is Sister Mariella’s evening of fulfilled hope.

To be prepared for eternity takes a lifetime, as “our inner self is being renewed day by day.” Mariella knew this. We in community will remember that Sister Anne, in her recent letter to us, said, “Sister Mariella continues to have a great attitude. When I ask her how she is, she almost always responds, “Better than I was yesterday.” Anne continued, “Isn’t that what we call conversion?”

Mariella developed HOPE in many ways, but especially through her relationships with others in community and beyond, and through her ever-steady faith in God. She loved a lively conversation…with anyone. She was outgoing and never knew a stranger. And she was a questioner! It should not surprise us that the first two readings for this vigil contain three questions. They sound like questions Mariella might ponder, might ask:

“…has anyone hoped in the Lord and been disappointed?”
“Has anyone persevered and been forsaken?”
“…what will you do at the visitation of the Lord?”

But in the third reading, the Gospel, these questions are rewarded. And the questioner listens to God:

“Come to me…I will refresh you…learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my
burden light.”

Hope is fulfilled.

But this hope had grown gradually, as Mariella walked the earth with us. Perhaps it was her growing understanding of God’s ways that caused her to care so deeply for others and to offer hope, especially to those with whom she worked and those most in need.

She, who quickly stepped her way down the halls of our monastery, now quickly steps beyond what we can imagine. She, who loved joy, a good joke, dark chocolate, or an ice cream cone is, perhaps, whistling the little whistle she would sometimes give as she scooted through life. She, who read and read and read, lives eternally in the presence of the Word.

Yes, the joy of God’s presence sustains us in time and eternity. The trick is that we have only a tiny, tiny glimpse of that joy here on earth. Even in our happiest moments, we experience only the tiny glimpse. We live in hope, knowing that so much more is coming!

One of Robert Frost’s most powerful lines is in his poem of the death of a young boy. He writes of those who keep watch at the boy’s bedside and listen to the his breathing: “Little—less—nothing!... But the reality of death is that the nothing becomes the fullness of God’s presence…love itself, and beauty beyond earthly imagination, and earthly comprehension.

We who have walked with Mariella to the edge of time…who have sought our loving God with her and known God’s presence here on earth, we, too, will one day live, as C.S. Lewis says, in the “merriest kind of merriment.” For “time is made holy” day by day, and we will someday be ready. We are all being fashioned in hope to see God face to face. Eternally.