Sister Catherine Weisensel, OSF

Weisensel Catherine

Sister Catherine (Eulalia) Weisensel, OSF, 94, died on Thursday, August 30, 2018, at Clare House.

Catherine’s life began on December 8, 1923 as the seventh child of 12 born to Amanda (Diedrich) and Erhardt Weisensel in Stacyville, Iowa. Though Catherine was born on such a great feast day of Mary, she was baptized Catherine Mary, because that is what the Pastor wanted, instead of Mary Catherine as her parents had desired.

When Catherine was four, the family moved to a farm closer to Stacyville, and it was there she learned the importance of doing things well, whether it was milking cows or shocking grain. Even though there was always work to do, they had their share of fun times as well, playing together or staging “plays” for her parents in the winter.

One of Catherine’s favorite memories of her parents was their strong belief in prayer. They always prayed morning and evening prayers at the table in German, until they realized that the children didn’t understand what was being prayed. It was then that Catherine was asked to write out the English translation of the Angelus, Act of Contrition, the Our Father, and all the other prayers they were asked to pray for within the parish. After all the prayers were translated, it was then that the translation from German to English began. Catherine remembers an inspiring tableau of her dad at the head of the table holding his copy and mom at the foot of the table holding her copy as they all prayed together.

Catherine started high school in 1937, and in her junior year she came very close to entering eternity. What they thought was an appendectomy turned out to be a ruptured cyst. The doctor told her parents, who were in the waiting room, that he couldn’t save her. Her mother said, “You go back in there and try again. I’ll pray.” Catherine mentioned this incident because on the way to the hospital she told God that she would go to the convent if she lived through this, never having an inkling of the truth she was saying.

On August 25, 1941, Catherine entered the Franciscan community and the next year on August 12, 1942, she received the habit and the name, Sister Mary Eulalia. Sister began her ministry work in 1944 ministering in Iowa at Alton, Dubuque, Larchwood, Monticello, Bancroft, Remsen, and Sioux City. In Illinois, she ministered at Corpus Christi in Chicago.

Sister is survived by her sister Adella Attig, sister-in-law Joan Weisensel, nieces and nephews, and her Franciscan sisters with whom she shared over 76 years of her life.

Sister was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Clemens, Roger, Willard, Fr. Lawrence, OSC, and Marvin, sisters Angela, Marion, Ernestine (Elmer) Dorr, Esther (James) Larson, Norraine (Robert) Hemann, and brother-in-law Dale Attig.