Dominican Sister of Peace Tomasa Sigala, OP, died at Mohun Health Care Center, Columbus, OH, on July 25 , 2015.
Born December 10, 1931, in Rocky Ford, CO, Sr. Tomasa was the daughter of Ramon and Ysidra Gonzales Sigala. She entered the Dominican Sisters’ Community in Great Bend on August 30, 1956, and pronounced her first vows June 13, 1959. She celebrated 50 years of religious profession in 2009.
Sr. Tomasa has ministered most of her religious life in the healthcare field as a nurse aide in Sacred Heart Hospital (Lamar, CO), St. Rose Hospital and Central Kansas Medical Center (Great Bend, KS), St. Joseph Memorial Hospital (Larned, KS), St. Catherine Hospital (Garden City), and the convent infirmary (Great Bend, KS). She also served as detox aide in the chemical dependency unit in St. Joseph Hospital and in the alcohol treatment center in Alamosa, CO. After 1992, Sr. Tomasa ministered as a reflexologist at Heartland Farm, at the Heartland Center for Wholistic Health, and at the Motherhouse, all in Great Bend. She also spent some time in 2002 as a pastoral ministry assistant in Sharon, Kiowa, and Medicine Lodge, KS. In 2009 she retired in the Motherhouse infirmary in Great Bend.
Her friends remembered her with fondness and conveyed many stories of their relationship with her, saying that she loved nature and the outdoors and loved her dog, Mia, a border collie. She went for long walks with Mia, talked to her and lavished her with love and care. In her work in reflexology, she brought a healing presence to her clients.
Sr. Janice Thome recalled Sr. Tomasa and said, “She had a very caring heart for people that instinctively picked up a way to gently and practically be of support or assistance to them. Whether it was in her ministry in health care or in community life, she had that gift and used it freely.”
Many Sisters expressed their affection for Tomasa and explained that throughout the years she was a great classmate and friend and gave the community a connection with the Spanish, Mexican, and Indian cultures. Sr. Esther Fiegel said, “Tomasa taught me how to play Mexican Train dominoes while I was recuperating from knee replacement surgery. When I would win she would ask, ‘Who taught you how to play this anyway?’ I would reply, ‘You did!’ She would throw up her hands and say, ‘I shouldn’t have shown you all those tricks.'”
Sr. Joan Wolf entered the community on the same day as Tomasa. Sr. Joan described her encounter with Tomasa this way:
Tomasa was my classmate, entering the same day. After being introduced to our new life as postulants and sewing our numbers on all our clothes, the two of us went for a walk. I asked her, “Tomasa, why are you entering the convent so old?” After all, she was 24!!! She said, “Well, why are you entering so young?” I was 15. We laughed and from that moment had a bond which never broke. She was my wise woman and it was with Tomasa that I shared my life questions or difficulties and could count on some sweet wisdom to come from her mouth. She had suffered a good deal in her life so could speak from the heart.
Sr. Tomasa is survived by her Dominican Sisters of Peace religious community, five brothers and six sisters: Frank, Manuel, Antonio, Gilbert, Raul Torres, and Felipa, Josie Peterson, Consuelo Hernandez, Anita, Graciela Delfin, and Juanita Bustamante.
The Funeral Services were held July 27-28, 2015, at the Motherhouse in Columbus, OH. Burial took place at St. Joseph Cemetery.
Memorials in honor of Sr. Tomasa may be submitted securely online at oppeace.org or mailed to Dominican Sisters of Peace, Office of Mission Advancement, 2320 Airport Dr, Columbus, OH 43219-2098.