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Dominican Sister of Peace Lillian Gehlen, OP

Dominican Sister of Peace Lillian Gehlen, OP, (84), born in St. Leo, KS, died on February 13, 2024, at the Great Bend Motherhouse, Great Bend, KS. 
Lillian was born to Helen T. Youngers and Charles H. Gehlen on August 19, 1939. She entered the congregation in 1956 and spent the last 65 years professed. 
Sr. Lillian earned a diploma in Nursing from the Dominican School of Nursing in Great Bend, KS, and Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits in Nursing and General Education. 
She put her training to use as a nurse in Kansas and then as a missionary nurse in Nigeria for nearly 30 years. While in Nigeria, she also served as Director of Novices for our Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, Gusau, during their formative early years.  
When asked why she chose to remain in Nigeria longer than the three years she was initially asked to serve, Sr. Lillian answered, “Because I loved the people, I loved the work there. I love challenges. I got to see the church grow. There were so many blessings.” 
Upon her return to the states, she continued to care for God’s people as a nurse and through pastoral care. Later in life, she volunteered with the American Red Cross and offered community service at our various residences in Kansas until her passing. 

In the homily at her funeral Fr. Schremmer, called Sr. Lillian “a servant among us.”  
“She, with her deep-seated dedication, helped save lives when possible and when not, like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, she helped patients die with dignity and love,” added Sr. Frances Biernacki on her time in Nigeria. 
Sr. Rene Weeks added, “her reputation as a competent and caring nurse is without question and still remembered by so many for whom she cared.”  

Sister Lillian was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Alphons and Edward and her sister Alma Weber.  She is survived by brothers Arnold and Ray, sisters Dolores Hudson, Catherine Wooten, Virginia Horn, and Elizabeth Mosiman, several nieces and nephews, as well as the Dominican Sisters of Peace.    

Sr. Lillian’s funeral mass took place on February 20, 2024, at the Great Bend Motherhouse. Her burial followed in the Great Bend Cemetery.  

Memorial gifts in Sister Lillian’s name memory may be submitted securely online or sent to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr, Columbus, OH 43219. 

To make a donation in Sr. Lillian Gehlen's memory, please click here.

  • Click here to read her Wake Reflection by Sr. Rene Weeks, OP. 
  • Click here to read a message in honor of Sr. Lillian from Prioress Sr. Justina Nnajiofor. 
  • Click here to view a video made to celebrate the Jubilee of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, Gusau, which features an interview with Sr. Lillian Gehlen. 

One thought on “Dominican Sister of Peace Lillian Gehlen, OP

  1. Greetings,
    Every script that I read in this communication was just the best tribute to the Life of Lillian. The 50th Jubilee video gave a great summary of Sister Lillian’s Mission and Ministry–and all the Sister’s whoever served and nurtured the Seed of a New Religious Community to serve the Nigerian People, the Church and the Dominican Family. Thank you, Lillian’s Forever Friend and Classmate.
    Nancy Jane Kuntz OP

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