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Sr. M. Louise Werner

Dominican Sister of Peace M. Louise Werner (99) died on November 5, 2016 at Regina Health Center, Richfield, OH.

She was born on November 17, 1916, in Hametown, OH, the daughter of John and Louise Remark Werner. She entered the Sisters of St. Dominic of Akron, now Dominican Sisters of Peace, on September 8, 1932.

Sr. M. Louise Werner

Sr. Louise delighted in speaking of her childhood on the family farm. “There were animals of all sorts and I was my father’s right hand ‘boy’ in helping with the chores, because my two brothers were far too young” proudly remembers Sister. Music was also a daily part of her growing up as her mother would play the piano in the evening and her father and the children would sing. Her love for music never left her.

Sr. Louise earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Akron and a Master of Science in Education from St. John College, Cleveland, Oh.

From 1935-63, she taught primary grades at St. Augustine, Barberton; St. Vincent and St. Paul, Akron; St. Mary, Wooster and St. Agatha, Cleveland. For five years she was on the faculty of St. John College, Cleveland. With the east side of Cleveland becoming a changing neighborhood, she was a team teacher and principal at St. Thomas Aquinas School, Cleveland, working with gifted and talented students. During the summers, Sr. Louise along with several other sisters volunteered to work among the people of Appalachia where her brother, Father John, ministered.

Sr. Dorothy Mattingly remembered that, when she was a young sister, her superior declared that  Sr. Louise was “the best second grade teacher in the Congregation.” At a parish reception for Sr. Louise a few years ago, an elderly lady mentioned that as a child she had a lot of ear aches. To ease the pain when she came to school, Sister would put her woolen scarf over a radiator until it warmed up and then tied it around her head. Seventy years later she still remembers that loving remedy.

After retiring from teaching, Sr. Louise served as Director of Alumni Relations and Development Director at St. Thomas Aquinas School in Cleveland. With her unique style of raising money, she endeared herself to many people. She was a member of the parish council at St. Philomena Church and served on the Board for Family Transitional Housing. She loved working with the poor and disadvantaged in the inner city.

After a serious fall, she moved to Regina Health Center in February 2007, where her ready smile and the twinkle in her eyes delighted all those around her.

In her preaching at the funeral, Sr. Diana Culbertson said,

When Sr. Louise saw a course of action that she recognized as a gospel imperative, she dedicated herself to that Gospel call with persistence, wonderful impatience and engaging charm - an urban missionary like no other.

With Sr. Louise, what you heard and saw was an honesty that wasn't always consoling.  We all know her commitment to the truth and especially to the truth of the gospel.  When she was sent in 1963 to teach at St. Agatha School in East Cleveland, she knew her mission and was neither sentimental about it nor overly cautious.  Her dedication to the African-American community was not just well known but notorious.  Episcopal restrictions on begging money were casually ignored.  She called everyone she knew - and some she didn't know, begging money to support teachers in the inner city.

For our Gospel reading, Sr. Louise selected a scene describing the last days of Jesus, "Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also."  She could have moved to a different neighborhood, worked in a more affluent parish, retired to the Motherhouse, but she remained faithful to the presence and the call of the Lord.  She knew where she could find Him - always among the people to whom she had been sent and whom she never stopped supporting and loving.  We should all be so fortunate, to know clearly where the Lord wants us, to remain not just faithful but joyfully in our calling - honest, unafraid, bold, if necessary - and always aware.  The grain of wheat will bear fruit, but only if it dies.  We all need the courage to die a little, to die to fear, to die to dishonesty, to die to human respect, to die to our desire for more comfort, more friends, more success, more approval.   We all need light as clearly as the light given to Sr. Louise, light to know where the Lord can be found, and light to see what our task is in his presence.

Sr. Louise is survived by a niece and several nephews. She was preceded in death by brothers, Rev. John and Edward; sisters, Mary E. Lewis, Catherine Marquard and Sister Marijane, OP.

The Wake Service and Mass of Christian Burial were held November 8 and 9 at Our Lady of the Elms Convent,  Akron, OH with burial following at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Memorials in honor of Sister Louise may be submitted securely online or sent to Dominican Sisters of Peace, 2320 Airport Drive, Columbus, OH 43219-2098.

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