Sister Norma Honz, OSB

November 18, 1920 - September 17, 2015

Sister Norma HonzSister Norma Honz, OSB, 94, a Benedictine sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kan., died Thursday, September 17, 2015, at the monastery. The vigil service will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, September 24, in the monastery chapel, and the Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated there at 10:30 a.m. Friday, September 25.

Sister Norma was born to Eleanor and Andrew Honz on November 18, 1920. She was one of four children, growing up on a farm in Panama, Iowa. After teaching in rural schools in Iowa for four years, she entered Mount St. Scholastica in 1944. She taught in grade schools in Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado for 20 years and was also a principal for two years. After earning a home economics degree from Kansas State University in 1967, she taught home economics at LeBlond (St. Joseph, Mo.) and Lillis (Kansas City, Mo.) high schools and at the Mount Academy. From 1976-1985 she was chair of the home economics department at Benedictine College. She also gave lectures on nutrition for such senior groups as Elderhostel and The Shepherd’s Center. After she retired from teaching in 1989, she worked in the monastery kitchen and assisted in other community services. She served on the community senate and conciliation board and was a member of the American Home Economics Association and Kansas Church Women United. She celebrated her 60th anniversary as a Benedictine sister in 2006.

Sister Norma was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Andrew Honz and her sister Lucille Mickels. She is survived by her sister Margaret Feldman of Harlan, Iowa, and by nieces, nephews and her monastic family. Two cousins, Sister Agnes Honz and Sister Sylvia Kenkel, are also members of Mount St. Scholastica. Arensberg Pruett Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica or made online.

Reflection for the Vigil Service for Sister Norma Honz, OSB

September 24, 2015

By Sister Kathleen Flanagan, OSB

Readings: Proverbs 31:10, 13, 19-22, 25-27, 30; Philippians 4:4-9; John 6:35, 37-40

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice!  Sister Norma is free of the oxygen that kept her in her room the last two weeks of her earthly life.  She is no longer in pain, not that she complained of or let on that she was, and she is at peace with her loving GOD. Let us rejoice with her!

On behalf of the community I offer heartfelt sympathy to her sister Margaret, her her cousins, Sisters Agnes and Sylvia, and the nieces and nephews and their families with us tonight to celebrate the love and life of Sister Norma Honz.

Sister Norma was definitely a “woman of worth” as described in the first reading from Proverbs.  She was clothed with strength and dignity.  She was faithful to her monastic vocation taking delight in serving others. She prayed daily for her family, friends and community. Sister Norma was an active and concerned community member for over seventy years. Even when she was no longer able to attend community meetings regularly she enjoyed knowing what was being discussed as well as what was happening in the monastery.

In reading her “Memories of our Family”, written in 1982 and listening to her stories, I learned more about this wonderful woman. Mildred Susanna was the eldest of four children, 3 girls and a boy, born on a farm northwest of Dunlap, Iowa; Andrew, the youngest, wasn’t even born yet when their father died at the young age of 33.  Her mother, Eleanor, kept the family together and instilled a love of work and prayer in her children.  Idleness was not part of Sister Norma’s life.  As a family they worked together to get things done on their farm and later on Grandma Hoffman’s farm where they lived until they moved into town. 

Once in Panama they were able to attend the parochial school. The children did jobs around the parish and in town to help with the cost of tuition.   Doing well in school was expected and so studying was an integral part of the daily routine in her home.   The way her mother made learning interesting may have planted the seed for her long teaching career.  

After attending Mount St. Scholastica College for a year, Sister Norma taught four years in one-room schools in Iowa before entering Mount St. Scholastica convent in 1944.  For the next twenty years she taught in elementary schools in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado. She then earned a degree in Home Economics from K-State in 1967 and taught home economics at two of our secondary schools, LeBlond and Lillis. In 1975 she earned her Masters in Home Economics from Texas Woman’s College. Sister Norma then joined the faculty of Mount St. Scholastica College, finishing her external ministry in 1989 as chair of the Home Economics department at Benedictine College.  

For several years after “retiring” Sister Norma served the meals for jubilees, funerals and other special occasions here in the monastery. She also sewed for the sisters in Dooley. She crafted many of the costumes used in The Play of Daniel performed during our 125th celebration! 

Sister Norma was always a lady.  She was precise with her words and loving in her actions.  After moving to Dooley she could be seen visiting with sisters, folding laundry and helping out as needed, as well as being faithful to her daily exercise program.  Sister Norma saw and experienced the good in every situation.  She may not have liked some things, but she never complained.  Her faith kept her strong.  

Just by her quiet presence she abundantly blessed our community, let pause now and recall how Sister Norma blessed each of us.

Let us rejoice with her -- that she is, this day, sustained by her God and living in his glory.