Sister Roberta Schachle, OSB
November 11, 1926 - December 21, 2013
Sister Roberta Schachle, OSB, 87, a Benedictine sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kans., died Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, at the monastery. The vigil service will be Thursday, December 26, at 7 p.m. in the monastery chapel, and the Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated there Friday, December 27, at 10:30 a.m.
Sister Roberta was born Nov. 11, 1926, in Canute, Okla., one of eight children of John and Teresa Simon Schachle. In 1945, she entered the Benedictine monastery in Tulsa, Okla., where she was a member until 1968, when she became part of the new foundation of Red Plains Monastery in Piedmont, Okla. With a master’s degree in mathematics education from Syracuse University, she spent most of her life teaching in elementary schools in Oklahoma. She was also a gifted potter and weaver. In 2009, her community merged with Mount St. Scholastica and she has been residing in Dooley Center.
Sister Roberta was preceded in death by her parents, by her sisters Teresa Ryan, Mary L. Hodgson and Katherine Wilhelm, and by her brothers Charles, James and John Schachle. She is survived by a brother, Pat Schachle, of Elk City, Okla., sister-in-law Teresa Schachle of Canute, Okla., and by nieces, nephews, and her monastic family. Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica or made online.
Sister Roberta's Memorial Card:
Born in Canute, Oklahoma on Nov. 11,1926, Sister Roberta Schachle entered Benedictine life in Guthrie, Oklahoma, in 1945. She was one of eight children of John and Teresa Schachle. In her own words, she describes, "My life work has been teaching and being a part of parish life. I graduated from Benedictine Heights College in Tulsa with a B.S. in education, followed by a master’s degree in mathematics from Syracuse University and graduate math courses at Oklahoma State University. I’ve taught all subjects in all grades, with a focus on mathematics. My work was affirmed with an Outstanding Educator Award in 1984." Former student Tom Joyce, a world-renowned blacksmith, credits her with stirring his gift as a boy to work with his hands. She was also housemother for Halfway House, part of the Tulsa Psychiatric Center. For several years she provided care for overnight retreatants and guests at Red Plains Monastery in Piedmont, Okla., so beautifully living out with them Benedict’s call to hospitality. She also offered opportunities for creative expression in pottery and weaving. Even in her last years of dementia after the move to Atchison, she expressed her humor, caring and love of singing. Let us remember her gratefully in our prayers.
Homily given at S. Roberta's Wake Service
by Sister Benedicta Boland, OSB
Resurrection is not only for springtime! It keeps happening all around us. Or is it in keeping with the season—birthing new life at Christmas--a birthing anew into the eternal embrace of God. May I remind you ahead of time, the 1st reading for the funeral mass in the morning--from Zephaniah was being proclaimed at the very moment Sr. Roberta was transitioning to new life in the eternal realm.
In the passage from Baruch, we heard "Arise, O Jerusalem and stand on high, and behold the joy that comes to you from your God." It’s been a recurring antiphon during the 3rd week of Advent and Sr. Roberta would sing it--so it ought to be so. Let me try.
During the last several months, Sr. Roberta evidenced in her living the 'leveling of the high mountain' of mobility and self-care, and her graceful acceptance of the assistance required was exemplary. It was surprising to us as to how fully she surrendered to more limited movement. Limitation or confinement was never a quality of her free spirit. But she never lost her wilfulness to get to Oklahoma, no matter how many foiled tricks she devised to get there. We are sure, Sr. Roberta, you lead the heavenly choirs in singing 'Oklahoma' on your arrival.
And this evening we proclaim your victory, Sr. Roberta. We give praise and thanks to God for the gift of your living life, light and love among us. Yes, you sealed your victory last Saturday morn by your sudden burst into the freedom of God's covenantal promise. Being born in the 'image and likeness of God' some 86 years ago in the township of Canute, OK, you were brought to the neighboring parish Church for Baptism, to seal forever your relationship with your Creating God, your Saving Lord, and their Sanctifying Spirit. You were schooled by your parents, John T. and Teresa Marie, in a lively faith which was later intensified in a further choice of dedication to the way of Benedict and Scholastica. This was another family of like-minded seekers.
Life for Sr. Roberta was always a search for more--more experiences, more attempts, more tryouts, more creative ways of doing things, more reasons for parties. In the words of a very close friend--Roberta was a much-loved teacher who influenced the growth and development of many a child--mixing her ability as a strong math teacher with that of an inspired artist. She was a caring and disciplined individual. Roberta contributed much to her monastic family, the Church and her own large family. And these past few years she enjoyed the loving care of the Sisters here at Mount St. Scholastica, but that is not to say she ever gave up her stubborn intent.
Hospitality was her trademark wherever Sr. Roberta served. She was a Martha who worked quietly behind the scenes with never a flair. But Roberta had a flair distinctly her own--snacks and treats for workers, sweets for any children who happened by. Her engaging style was made so visible here at the front desk of the Monastery. Many stories will be told in the sharing time of her generous gift of self, in her quick response to jest, always an 'on the mark' comment to follow without hesitation. Roberta’s participation was always unique.
Yes, Roberta, your life's experiments, your accomplishments, the dailyness of tasks, have chiseled onto the white stone that new name you now know to have been God's dream for you to achieve. Yes, you have proved victorious, Sr. Roberta, and we along with your loving Oklahoma family here with us, celebrate your victory tonight with whole-hearted affirmation! We know you will help make heaven an eternal party. We will join you later.