Sister LaVonne Herrig, OSF, 97, passed away on Thursday, March 5, 2015, at Clare House.
Charles and Elizabeth (Kayser) Herrig lived on a farm in southern Minnesota where they had eleven children, the youngest of which was Leona Mary. She was baptized by a visiting priest at St. Columba Church in Iona. In this parish she received all twelve years of her education from the Rochester Franciscans.
Her childhood days on the farm were happy, with time to play as well as chores to do. Leona wrote about gathering eggs, feeding the chickens, weeding the garden, helping with the laundry, and bringing in cobs for the stove. Later she learned to cook, bake, and milk cows.
Charles and Elizabeth instilled religious values in their children, teaching them prayer and devotion to the Blessed Mother. They drove the children to the Catholic school early so that they could attend daily Mass.
The family loved music and often sang while doing the dishes. Leona joined her brothers in taking instrumental lessons on the baritone and played in the town band. They give concerts in the summer on Wednesday nights, which were generally considered shopping night for many farmers.
After completing high school, Leona wanted to follow her three sisters, Joanne, Yvonne, and Luan to Mount St. Francis. While she was thinking about this, her brother, Lawrence, told her he would buy her a new instrument if he thought she would use it. Joe was setting up his dentistry office and asked if she would be interested in being his receptionist. She concluded they were both fishing to find out if she was planning to enter the convent, but she wasn’t quite ready to tell them. However, on September 15, 1935, she entered Mount St. Francis and was received a year later with the name Sister Mary LaVonne. She made first profession Aug. 10, 1938.
Sister LaVonne attended Columbia College, now Loras College, and did her student teaching at Holy Trinity with her sister, Sister Yvonne, as her supervising teacher. She taught primary grades in Templeton, Pocahontas, St. Edward’s in Waterloo, Sacred Heart in Dubuque, Crescent City, CA, Portland, Oregon, and Melrose Park, IL. Her teaching days were ended by a heart attack in January of 1989. After recuperating at Holy Family Hall, she retired to Mount St. Francis where she supervised telephone operators and receptionists for ten years. She was grateful for the opportunities her retirement years provided to participate in liturgical functions as Eucharistic minister, Office reader, and schola member. She enjoyed having the time to pray, read, listen to music, and use the computer. Sister moved to Holy Family Hall in 2007.
Sister was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers and their wives, Lawrence (Ann), Leo (Freda), Joseph, Alfred (Clara) her sister Mary who died in infancy, her sisters and their husbands Loretta (Fred) Goesser, Gertrude (Ray) Tennessen, and her Franciscan Sisters Sister Joan Herrig, Sister Yvonne Herrig and Sister Luan Herrig
Sister is survived by nieces, nephews and her Franciscan sisters with whom she shared 78 years of her life