Sister Rosina Baumgartner, OSB
March 9, 1922 - October 15, 2014
Sister Rosina Baumgartner. O.S.B., 92, a Benedictine Sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kans., died October 15, 2014. The vigil service will be Sunday, October 19, at 7:00 p.m. in the monastery chapel, and the Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated there on Monday, October 20, at 10:30 a.m.
Sister Rosina (Mary Theresa) was the oldest of four children born to Andrew and Pauline Miller Baumgartner of Atchison, and spent most of her life serving the needs of the people of her hometown. A graduate of Mount St. Scholastica Academy (1940) and Mount St. Scholastica College (1944), she entered the Benedictine Sisters in 1944, and made monastic profession in 1946.
Her education supported her ministry in social service, music, liturgy, and religious education at all age levels. Sister Rosina taught and also did pastoral work in both social concerns and music. An early ecumenist, she was an active member of the Atchison Ministerial Alliance, serving as president 1978-81, and earlier as vice-president of the ministerial alliance of Beatrice, Neb. In Beatrice, she was also named Professional Woman of the Year in 1974. She was one of three founders of the Atchison alliance’s Hunger Task Force. Various testimonials have commended her for improving membership and activity in these organizations, citing also her ecumenical leadership in prayer. Sister Rosina served on the monastery’s personnel committee, social concerns committee, and community senate, and was the first director of the lay volunteer program.
She was preceded in death by her parents and by her sister, Pauline Amrein of Atchison. She is survived by a brother George, (sister-in-law Barbara) also of Atchison, her sister Rosina (Joseph) Halpin of Arlington, Texas, brother-in-law Edwin Amrein, nieces and nephews, and cousins, including Sister Irmina Miller of the Mount community, and her monastic community.
Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica or made online.
Sister Rosina's Memorial Card:
Give and it will be given to you...
for the measure you give
will be the measure you get back.
On October 15, 2014, our beloved Sister Rosina Baumgartner entered eternal life. Her service was an outgrowth of prayerful conviction learned from her parents, Andrew and Pauline Miller Baumgartner and nourished throughout the monastic life she had lived since 1944. Sister Rosina shared a rare blend of gifts with her sisters in community and with the people among whom she ministered. She was teacher and organist, ecumenist, liturgist and RCIA director, a quiet and determined social activist, and a supporter of local culture and the arts. She had the tenacity required to devise ways of meeting needs, and cared deeply for those who, she used to say, "fall into the cracks." She was an energizing member of the local ministerial alliance and one of the founders of its Hunger Task Force. She organized many interfaith prayer services and used her talents and knowledge of Atchison to gather volunteers for community projects. Sister Rosina was an organist at her home parish of St. Benedict's, Atchison, as well as in the monastery. As she became more frail, she continued her prayer for her family, community, and the voiceless in society. Let us remember her in grateful prayer.
Reflection for the Vigil Service for S. Rosina Baumgartner
October 19, 2014
by Eleanor Suther, OSB
In the name of the community of Mount St. Scholastica, may I extend our sympathy and prayers to Sister Rosina’s family, to her brother George and his wife Barbara, to her sister Rosina Halpin and her husband Joe, to her brother in law Edwin Amrein, to all her nieces and nephews, her cousins, the people of St. Benedict’s parish, to her classmates, Sister Mary Joyce, Sister Norma, and Sister Irmina, her classmate and cousin, and to all who knew and loved her.
As I sat here in chapel, reflecting on Sister Rosina's life, I was looking at the windows on the north side of chapel which show scenes from the life of St. Benedict. If you sit and look at those windows every day for 50 years or more, they become part of the way you think. Those scenes and their accompanying quotes from the Rule of Benedict can be seen as an outline of our monastic life, a way of life that can open us to the abundant life that we are offered by Jesus, the Good Shepherd. You can’t see them now, because it is dark outside, but I’d like to shine the light of Sister Rosina life through them so that you can see them in your mind’s eye...
Operantem in se Dominum magnificant…They praise the Lord’s work in them…
The window shows Benedict leaving Rome under the guardianship of his Angel, and in the background we see a lily, symbol of his beloved nurse, Cyrilla. There are also symbols of his baptism.
Mary Theresa Baumgartner was born into a Benedictine family. Three of her aunts, her father’s sisters, Sister Rosina Baumgartner (who died at 49 and whose name Mary Theresa received as a novice), Sister Evarilda, and Sister Cyrilla, her mother’s sister, were members of this community. Her father Andrew, came to the abbey from Germany, as a student at the age of 14, spent some time as a novice discerning a vocation, then after leaving at the age of 19, worked first at the abbey farm and then at the St. Benedict’s student press from 1916 to 1963. From that time into his nineties, he served the 6:30 daily Mass at St. Benedict’s Church. From the time she was 12 or 13, until she graduated from Mount St. Scholastica College and entered our community, Mary Theresa served as organist at St. Benedict’s Parish. She attended St. Benedict’s School, Mount St. Scholastica Academy and Mount St. Scholastica College.
The monks of the abbey were frequent visitors at her home. As she was discerning a call to religious life, her parents, with the advice of one the monks, encouraged her to finish college first. She graduated from Mount St. Scholastica College in 1940, the first to receive a degree in music from the college.
Timorem Domini docebo vos…I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Here Benedict is in the desert and we see that the devil is nearby, offering temptation. Shortly after graduation, Mary Theresa entered the convent. As a novice she received the name of her aunt, Sister Rosina. Through those early years in monastic life, she wrestled with the demons within, learned to practice the tools of good works, and to listen to God’s voice beyond her fears, beyond her dreams. She was a musician on mission most of the first half of her monastic life. This was an arduous task both of teaching in the classroom, giving music lessons to help support the community, and being parish organist. She learned to pray “Ut fiat illius voluntas in nobis: that his will be done in us,” (that’s the next window) and to “Open her eyes to the deifying light..Apertis oculos nostris ad deificum lumen." The fourth window shows Benedict discovering water at the place where God had inspired him to look.
Because she was a musician and organist in small parishes, Sister Rosina was intimately involved with the liturgical renewal that was beginning in those years prior to Vatican Council II and especially after the Liturgical Constitution on the Liturgy was promulgated. So the liturgy and the liturgical documents became her study and her lectio divina as she tried to make sense of it all. She came to see the liturgy as a celebration of the church as the people of God and as nourishment for their ministry in the world. She longed to share that vision with others.
And so she was drawn to pastoral ministry first in Beatrice Nebraska, for five years, and then in her home parish of St. Benedict’s for the next 20 years. She wanted to share with others the abundant life that the Good Shepherd offers to his people. A movement of the Spirit through the 70’s and 80’s was the charismatic movement which helped people to affirm their baptism, be open to the call of the Spirit beyond the rules and regulations, and to discover the abundant life Christ has to offer. Sister Rosina found in that movement the strength and the inspiration to use the gifts she had been given for building up the church.
It helped her to focus again on the call to Prefer nothing whatever to Christ” the next window. Christo omnino nihil praeponat. So she spent the next 20 years walking with the Good Shepherd, sharing the joy of the Gospel through her love of the liturgy, through her work with the RCIA, through her service to the people of God. With the Good Shepherd, and with volunteers she recruited to work with her, she reached out to the scattered sheep through her work in ecumenism, social service and social justice. Many of you can tell that story must better than I. She would say that it was all the work of the Spirit. As the next window advises, Bonum aliquis in se videret, Deo applicit. If you see something good in yourself, give the credit to God. Here Benedict through his prayer has brought healing to the child of a neighbor who had been crushed under a wall.
Omni tempore silentio debent studere…they ought always to cultivate silence... the next window. Sister Rosina was always gentle and loving, a supportive community member. I got to know her in her retirement, when she worked with me in the liturgy office. At the same time, she continued her work as one of the community organists, as well as coordinating volunteers for the monastery. She was a musician, after all, and organized the accompaniment to our five volumes of Liturgy of the Hours books. And she organized the massive task of collating those five volumes when they came from the Abbey print shop. She continued her service as a musician even when she moved to Dooley Center.
The next window shows Benedict and Scholastica at their last visit. Dominun Deum Diligere…love the Lord our God. Throughout her monastic life, Sister Rosina held her family deep in her heart. Through them she always experienced the love of the Good Shepherd. She treasured the 13 months she was able to live and care for her father before he died. She was grateful for their love and support. She prayed often for her family who were ill…and recruited us to pray for them as well. She loved you all very much.
Rooted and grounded in love she looked forward to everlasting life. In the last window we see Benedict as he breathed his last, his hands raised to heaven, supported by his brothers. Sister Rosina died with her heart raised to heaven supported by the love and prayers of her community, her family, her many friends, and her home parish. The inscription on that last window is Inquire pacem and sequere eam….Seek after peace and pursue it. That quest is completed. She is now in the arms of that Good Shepherd.
Glory to God who shows his power in us and can do much more than we could ask or imagine; glory to him in the Church and in Christ Jesus through all generations for ever and ever. Amen. (Eph 4:20-21 Christian Community Bible translation)