Sister Sienna Rohlfer, OSB

April 24, 1915 - January 12, 2015

Sister Sienna Rohlfer, OSB, 99, a Benedictine sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kans., died January 12 at the monastery. The vigil service will be Tuesday, January 13, at 7 p.m. in the monastery chapel, and the Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated there on Wednesday, January 14, at 10:30 a.m.

S. Sienna RohlferSister Sienna Rohlfer was born in Wien, Mo., to John and Anna Nannemann Rohlfer, the second oldest of seven children. After attending the Mount Academy for two years, she entered the Mount community in 1933. She made her monastic profession in 1934 and celebrated her diamond jubilee in 2009. She spent 50 years as a teacher in parish schools in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska. She was also principal for 16 of those years. After her retirement in 1984, she worked in the pre-school at the Mount Community Center for two years and then did sewing, quilting and crafts. She also served as organist in St. Lucy’s chapel for several years. Two of her sisters, Sisters Ruthanna and Mary Linus, were also members of the Mount community.

Sister Sienna was preceded in death by her parents, by her brothers John and Joseph, and her sisters Emelia Westhues, Sister Ruthanna and Sister Mary Linus (both members of the Mount community). She is survived by her sister Marie Rustemeyer of Salisbury, Mo., nephews and nieces, and her monastic family, including a cousin, Sister Bernelda Nannemann. Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica or made online.

 

Sister Sienna's Memorial card 

The Lord is my shepherd.
There is nothing I shall want.    
Ps. 23:1

A great storyteller and patient in suffering, Sister Sienna Rohlfer remained faithful to community prayer throughout her long life. She had a great memory and often remembered her students’ names when they came to visit. Born in Wien, Mo., to John and Anna Nannemann Rohlfer, she was the second oldest of seven children. After attending the Mount Academy for two years, she entered the Mount community in 1933 made profession in 1934, and celebrated her diamond jubilee in 2009. She spent 50 years as a teacher in parish schools in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska. She was also principal for 16 of those years. After her retirement in 1984, she worked in the preschool at the Mount Community Center for two years, and then did sewing, quilting, and crafts as long as she was able. She also served as organist in St. Lucy’s Chapel. Two of her sisters, Sisters Ruthanna and Mary Linus, were also members of the Mount community. Let us remember her gratefully in our prayers. 

 

Reflection for the Vigil Service for Sister Sienna Rohlfer

by Bernelda Nanneman,OSB
January 13, 2015

Readings: Sirach 2:1-11; 1 John 3:1-12; Luke 24:13-16, 28-35

In the name of our prioress, Sister Anne Shepard and our Benedictine Sisters we express our sympathy to Sister Sienna’s sister Marie and Leonard and their children;  Marian, Mildred, Martha, Melinda, Marie, Marjorie, Mark and Mike.  They had ten children and many grand and great grandchildren. And in the name of the Rustermeyer-Rolfer-Nanneman families I would like to thank the Mount Community and Dooley Center for their care of Sister Sienna.

I know there must be great rejoicing as these three Sisters:  Ruthanna, Sienna, and Mary Linus are now reunited. They used to spend much time together. They were great teachers, principals, musicians, seamstresses and doing whatever needed to be done.  

In our 1st reading tonight from Sirach we heard,
“Trust in him, and he will help you:
make your ways straight, and hope in him.“ 
Sister Sienna took this seriously.

From 1 John, “Beloved, we are God’s children NOW.  What we will be has not yet been revealed.” This has now been revealed to her. Don’t you wonder what it is like?

In our gospel we heard the Emmaus story.  In Give Us This Day. a monthly publication, Donald Wells reflects as one of those disciples on that road.

“This journey of ours never really ends, does it?  I don’t think we really knew what we were in for when we started out.  We first went to Bethlehem where a Babe, Jesus, was born, then to Jesus execution.  And now we are back on the road again, a road that leads to a little town called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. A sense of despair surrounds us. Voices are somber, tears flow.  As we continue a stranger joins us.  He inquires.  He listens. He sympathizes.  He is told of the One who was “mighty in word and in deed.” Who was to bring in the Kingdom.  His message of Love was not accepted, so they executed him. Then the unknown traveler speaks.

He explained it all in a way we had not heard before. We invited the  stranger, to stay and share a simple meal.  As we sat around that table, we recognized Jesus when he took the Bread, Blest, Broke and Gave it He then disappeared from sight. Later we recalled how our hearts were burning within us."

Sr. Sienna was a great believer in prayer especially the Eucharist.  At daily Mass I’m sure she must have experienced this Presence.

Sister Sienna held the title of being here at our monastery the longest--82 years this January.  She was born April 24, 1915 and would have been 100  April 24, 2015.

Proceeding her in death were her parents, John and Anna Rohlfer her infant brothers , John and Joseph, her sisters, Emelia, Sister Ruthanna, and Sister Mary Linus, and two nephews;  Matt and Melvin.  Sister Sienna loved her Benedictine Family and her Rohlfer/Rustemeyer Family.  She appreciated visits, letters and phone calls.  And a package was a real treat especially raisin oatmeal cookies.  Her prayers would intensify for the one who needed help.  She was a take charge person.  God can only say “Yes” when she intercedes for you.

I would now like to read one of our Sister Barbara Ann Mayer’s poems.

SISTER SIENNA ROHLFER

She looked stern but had a kind heart
And ready wit, waiting for God
To call her home to be with her sisters,
Linus and Ruthanna.  When others
Passed on to their reward, she asked,
“What about me, Lord?”
Perhaps God wanted her to learn patience.
She almost reached 100, but finally
God took her hand in the quiet early
January morning and said, “Arise my dove,
My beautiful one, come.”  She had listened
For nearly a century, served faithfully all her days.
She was ready to meet her God and probably
Chided him, “What took you so long?”