Sister Mary Linus Rohlfer, O.S.B.
August 7, 1920 - April 6, 2007
Sister Mary Linus Rohlfer, OSB, 86, a Benedictine sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kans., died Good Friday, April 6, 2007. The vigil service will by Monday, April 9, at 7 pm, in the monastery chapel, and the Mass of Resurrection will be offered there Tuesday, April 10, at 10:30am. Burial in the monastery cemetery will follow.
Sister Mary Linus (Elizabeth Johanna) was the third child of Anna Elizabeth Nannemann and John Augustine Rohlfer and was born in Wien, Missouri, August 7, 1920. She joined her two older sisters, Sister Ruthanna and Sister Sienna, also members of the Mount Benedictines.
Sister Mary Linus earned her bachelor of science degree in education with minors in music and psychology from Mount St. Scholastica College and her master’s in education at St. Louis University. She received several federal summer grants for workshops in math and reading. Sister Mary Linus taught in many of the community’s elementary schools, was librarian in some, and for more than 16 years was seventh and eighth grade teacher and principal in several schools of northeast Kansas. An excellent seamstress, she was much in demand for sewing help from her less accomplished sisters.
Preceding her in death were her parents, her infant brothers John and Joseph, her sisters Emelia Westhues and Sister Ruthanna, and her cousins Sisters Mary Virgil and Mary Edith Nannemann of the Mount community. Survivors include her sisters Sister Sienna Rohlfer, Atchison, Kansas, Marie (Leonard) Rustemeyer, Salisbury, Missouri, her cousin Sister Bernelda Nanneman, Atchison, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins, and her monastic family. Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica.
Let us remember her gratefully in our prayers.
S. Mary Linus's memorial card
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
Joyful and gentle are words that people think of when they describe Sister Mary Linus. Somehow her students and colleagues knew that she welcomed them into her life and enjoyed sharing with them. Third of seven children of Anna and John Rohlfer, Sister Mary Linus was born August 7, 1920, in Wien, Mo, and baptized Elizabeth Johanna. She entered Mount St. Scholastica Jan. 6, 1939, and made monastic profession in 1940. Devoted to her family of birth as well as to her religious family, she traveled to family events with Sisters Ruthanna and Sienna, her sisters in religion. In Kansas City and in the small towns of Missouri and northeast Kansas, she became exemplar of service--warm and caring, creative and competent. She was in elementary education for 50 years as teacher, librarian, and principal. Her students were the beneficiaries of her study at Mount St. Scholastica College where she received her Bachelor’s degree in education with minors in music and psychology; at St. Louis University where she earned the MA in education with a minor in theology; and of special summer programs in mathematics. A seamstress and lover of crafts, Sister Mary Linus delighted children with her carefully sewn dogs and ducks, and amiably assisted her less gifted sisters with their sewing and crocheting. Let us remember her in grateful prayer.
Reflection given at the Vigil Service
by Mary Agnes Patterson, OSB
As we gather tonight to pray for Sister Mary Linus, we offer our prayers and sympathy to Sister Sienna, Marie and Leonard and to all the nieces and nephews, to Sister Bernelda and all cousins and relatives of Sister Mary Linus. We are sad yet we have reason to be joyful. Isaiah wrote “with joy we will draw water at the fountain of salvation” and Jesus used water many times for healing. We know in faith that Sister Mary Linus is rejoicing in the fountain of salvation and that our risen Christ will heal us and give us new life and restore our joy this holy season of Easter and in the months and years to come.
Sister Mary Linus was united closely with Christ in his death on Good Friday, the very day we gather to commemorate the death of our Lord. She was united with him in his agony and anguish on Holy Thursday evening and in the early hours of the morning of Good Friday. We read tonight in Corinthians, “the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus.” We believe that Sister Mary Linus now enjoys new life with Christ on this Easter Monday and we celebrate that she has reached her life’s goal union with our risen Lord.
Sister Mary Linus lived in faith, joy and peace. She was devoted to her community, her ministry of education and to her family. As a community member she was a joy to live with and a wonderful community member. She was happy, generous and peaceful. She adjusted to the many changes that came into her life and ministry and lived in a calm and peaceful trust in God.
She loved the children and was a wonderful teacher. The children loved her and responded well to her kind and gentle manner. She shared her faith and formed many children as she taught them religion and prepared them for reception of the sacraments. She encouraged her students and helped them believe in themselves and succeed.
Generous in her service to community, Sister Mary Linus always helped out with whatever needed to be done. In her “free time” she was busy making stuffed animals, baby quilts, baby clothes, and her famous cloth ducks for the community gift shop and the prioress’ toy cabinet. After 50 years of ministry in elementary schools she came home to the Mount and worked in our community store room. She was helpful to sisters who needed supplies or clothes repaired and she always served cheerfully.
Sister Mary Linus was devoted to her family. She helped Sisters Ruthanna and Sienna in many ways and they were supportive companions to each other. She enjoyed her visits to your home Marie and Leonard and often came home with some good stories about your children/grandchildren. One time she came home and told me she, Ruthanna and Sienna were doing some work with fruits and vegetables and some of the children were helping. One little one went out of the room and told his mother “those nuns are getting on my nerves.” She really enjoyed that and told it many times. Sister Mary Linus had a special love and concern for all her sisters and family members.
Sister Mary Linus can now say with Mary Magdalene “I have seen the Lord.” We believe this in faith. We light our Easter candle to celebrate Christ the light of the world who conquered death and calls us to new life. Although we can not join Sister Mary Linus now in saying “I have seen the Lord” we can live generously, joyfully, lovingly, and faithfully as she did. Let us pray in gratitude for our Sister Mary Linus and for her eternal happiness in God’s loving embrace.