Sr. Venard Kessler, OP

Dominican Sister of Peace, Sr. Venard Kessler, OP, died at Mohun Health Care Center, Columbus, OH on June 8, 2015. She was born in 1917 in Lancaster, OH, and in 1936 entered the congregation of St. Mary of the Springs, now the Dominican Sisters of Peace.  She professed vows on August 14, 1938.

She was preceded in death by her parents Thomas Kessler and Sarah Snider Kessler and all of her eight siblings, her brothers Thomas, William and Marcellus, her sisters Elizabeth Franklin, Ruth Kessler, Agnes Cramer, Sr. Vivian Kessler, OP and Sr. Mary Carol Kessler, OP. She is survived by many nieces and nephews.

Sr. Venard earned a BA degree in English from the College of St. Mary of the Springs, now Ohio Dominican University in 1953. She taught in schools in Cincinnati, OH, Steubenville, OH, PA, NY, and MI. In the Columbus diocese she taught at St. Mary in Lancaster, in Columbus at Christ the King and St. James the Less. She also ministered at St. George Hospital in Cincinnati and was a volunteer in the Columbus Motherhouse.

Coming from a large family of musicians, Sr. Venard enjoyed music all her life, and was remembered by many as a fun-loving and practical member of the community. Fr. Michael Trainer, in his homily at Sr. Venard’s funeral Mass, reflected on her life and the readings from Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians.

When I was much younger, I was amazed at all the work and planning that my siblings, cousins and others were involved in while raising their children. Just the physical care was one thing, but the transportation, scheduling and differ needs were constant. And I’m talking about families with two or three children. I cannot imagine how the Kessler family did it with nine children.

As we know, all nine were musically talented, but I wonder if it wasn’t also a case of trying to tie together all that youthful energy, to get everybody to play together as a team effort, to bring about some form of complementarity or harmony. Learning on a practical level  how to play their individual instruments well and to play well together.

We know that St. Paul was faced with the challenge of getting the Corinthians to play well together. Corinth was a metropolitan city with different cultures, beliefs and behaviors. The early Christians in the community didn’t always see things the same way. And so Paul had to remind them that there is but one Gospel – bringing all people together in the one community centered on Christ.

Isaiah reminds us that God has swallowed up death forever. Death is not to be feared or seen as uncertain. And Jesus says in the Gospel, that anyone who hears His word and believes in Him has eternal life.

For Sr. Venard her relationship with her brothers and sisters, and the music they shared together, helped her encourage those she taught and those she lived with to “play well together.” So that others might know the effects of being in harmony, in complimenting one another and that all might be a living song giving praise and thanks to God.

Funeral services were held at Mohun Health Care Center and at the  Columbus Motherhouse June 9-11, followed by burial at St. Joseph Cemetery.

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

Posted in Obituaries