Religious Service


Growing up in a Roman Catholic family, attending parochial schools most of my life, and now seeing the religious history of my ancestors, I wanted to take a small space here to honor those who devoted their life to our religious communities. The following pages include a brief biography for many of them.

If you have any information to add, please contact me.


Margaret Cox 1851-1897       Sister Bartholomew Sinsinawa Dominican
Catherine Cox 1854-1881 Sister Mary Hilary Sinsinawa Dominican
Mary Schuh 1872-1929 Sister Calixta School Sisters of Notre Dame
Philomina Romenesko 1876-1960 Sister Calasanza School Sisters of Notre Dame
Mary Elsbernd 1882-1967 Sister Mary Maximila Order of St. Francis, Oldenburg, IN.
Catherine Ryan 1890-1982 Sister Mary Benedict Sinsinawa Dominican
Winifred Ryan 1894-1984 Sister Marguarite Sinsinawa Dominican
Ruth Winifred Ryan 1899-1986 Sister Hilaire Dominican  ?? Dubuque, IA
Bridgit Louise Wall 1906-1923 Sister Mary Eulogia Franciscan Order of the Sisters of Charity
Sophia Lutkenhaus 1908-1993 Sister Myron Order of St. Francis, Dubuque, IA
Theresa Carolina Schuh 1909-1986 Sister Mary Josepha School Sisters of Notre Dame
Elisabeth  Burns 1909-2000 Sister Robertine Sinsinawa Dominican
Maria Lutkenhaus 1910-1989 Sister Antoinette Order of St. Francis, Dubuque, IA.
Julia Lutkenhaus  Living Sister Julia Order of St. Francis, Dubuque, IA.
Mary Roseann Micke Living Sister Marilyn Order of Saint Benedicts
Mary Grace Micke Living Sister    ? 


Alice Gertrude Hein Living Sister Alice St. Joseph of Carondelet
Ruth Elsbernd Living Sister    Ruth Order of St. Francis, Dubuque, IA.
Roberta Faust  1930-1980 Sister Leone Dominican Order of the Siena Sisters of Racine
Germaine Agnes Hietpas Living Sister M. Jordana OP?
Helen Elsbernd Living Sister Helen Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Lacrosse
Brigid Mary Hart  Living Sister    ? Sister of Charity BVM, Dubuque, IA.
Susan Hart  Living Sister    ? Order of Preachers, Sinsinawa, WI.
Mary Ellen Green Living Sister Mary Ellen  
Mary Therese Flynn Living Sister Josephe Marie  School Sister of Notre Dame
Pauline Gertrude Micke Living Sister Pauline Duluth, MN.
Judy Kavanaugh Living Sister Judith St. Joseph of Carondelet
Judith Ann Moehring Living Sister M. Pamela  
Mary Patricia Leroy Living Sister Mary Patricia SHNJ
Rose Mary Elsbernd Living Sister Rose Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Lacrosse
Mary Elsbernd Living Sister Mary Order of St. Francis, Dubuque, IA.
Mary Ellen Green Living Sister Mary Ellen Order of Preachers
Mary Ann DeBruin Living  Sister Diana St. Frances of Assisi



Maximillian Elsbernd  1881-?    
Alphonse Elsbernd  1899-1997   Society of the Divine Word (S.V.D.)
Clarence Micke 1908-1975 Reverend Andrew  
Norbert Verhagen Living    
Donald Verhagen 1919-2001    
Eugene La Meres 1919-1983    
Elmer Elsbernd 1936-2001   Society of the Divine Word (S.V.D.)
Joseph Monahan Living    
Thomas Ryan Living    
James Herbert Elsbernd Living    
Timothy McGowan Living    


Sister M Calazanza (Philomena Romenesko)

Granddaughter of Joseph Romenesko



Entered: September 7, 1897

Received: September 6, 1899

Professed: July 31, 1902

Final Vows: July 22, 1909 


"You would make a wonderful hospital nurse, Philomena."  This praise from her fatally ill mother, gave Sister M. Calasanza the first thought of giving herself to a special work as a religious.  Six years later, at twenty-one, Philomena was compelled to come to terms with herself while meditating on Christ's vivid condemnation of tepidity.  Desiring to do a positive work in the Church, Philomena made the necessary contacts and with the guidance of Sister Mary Leopoldine, the superior at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Green Bay, entered the candidature in Milwaukee.


Making known her desire for the nursing profession, Novice Mary Calasanza hoped that her superior would consider such an assignment for her.  Sister tells us however, that she learned a valuable  and enduring Novitiate lesson in Our Lady's recommendation, "Do whatever He tells you," and received with true joy the obedience that sent her to the classroom.


From first to last, Sister cherished  her vocation as she herself relates.  For more than 50 years Sister was a better than average teacher.  Every child in her classroom was her big concern. She would not spare herself in serving these little ones and in particular her First Communicants.


When Sister was working at St. Joseph's Home in Green Bay, her health and eye-sight failed to such an extent that she was forced to give up school work.  Nevertheless, her assignment as refectorian for the Sisters at the home revealed the same attention to the individual wants and needs of her Sisters.  She took care to keep a late dinner hot and to serve it with a smile.  Her community of these days remember her pleasant. polite and cheerful demeanor.


During an active 57 years of service, Sister was stationed at: St. John Kanty, Chicago; St. Francis, De Pere; Our Lady of Lourdes, Dobie; St. Michael, Milwaukee; St. Luke, Gary; and St. Joseph Home, Green Bay.


In 1955, Sister retired to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mount Calvary, Wisconsin and as age made more demands on her feeble strength, was transferred to Notre Dame Infirmary, Elm Grove as a patient in 1959.


Always trying to avoid burdening others, Sister got around at the infirmary as best she could, but unhappily fell and broke her arm.  This accident confined Sister to her room or to a wheelchair and after a bout with the flu during the ensuing winter months, Sister gradually grew very weak.  On April 22 Extreme Unction was administered and on May 6, Sister prepared to welcome the angel of death.  About 3:20 a.m., Monsignor Rodenkirch, Mother Annunciata, Sister's niece, Sister M. Josepha and the nurses, witnessed the quiet, peaceful exit of Sister's soul.  Sister had a special devotion to our Sorrowful Mother, daily saying her chaplet.  By a strange coincidence, Sister now lies buried near the 13th Station of the cross in the Elm Grove cemetery.


A child of God from within twenty-four hours of her birth, this first generation American citizen spent her formative years in the quiet little village of Freedom, Wisconsin.  Her parents, Gerhard Romenesco and Theresa Hagel were staunch old-world Catholics.  Little is actually known of Sister's early life.  She attended the two room village school where she first learned to know and love our Sisters.  A prominent doctor in Green Bay always mentions Sister as his mother's hired girl who helped to bring him up.  He attests that, "Some of the dearest memories of my childhood are linked with good Sister Mary Calasanza."


Her long life of conformity to God's will and loving care for His children, have no doubt earned her an everlasting reward.  May Sister Mary Calasanza intercede for our loved Order and send many girls with the measure of her love to serve God and our Blessed Mother as she did. May she rest in peace."




Sister M. Benedict Ryan (Catharine Aurelia Ryan)

Great Grandaughter of Martin Powers


Received into the order 6/29/1919, professed vows 6/30/1920



Sister Benedict Ryan died May 4, 1981 at St. Dominic Villa, succumbing to a gradual physical decline. She was ninety years old and in the 61st year of her religious profession.


Born in Turlock, California September 14, 1890, Catherine was the daughter of' Catherine Gleason of Tipperary, Ireland and Daniel Ryan of Kaukauna, Wisconsin. With her three brothers and two sisters she early formed a family bond of great devotion which has lasted throughout their lifetimes. The family moved back to the old Ryan homestead in Wisconsin in 1897 and Catherine graduated from the Kaukauna High School in 3 years. She received her B.A. degree from Rosary College and her graduate courses mainly from Fordham University.


Sister was a teacher living in Appleton when she applied for entrance into St. Clara Novitiate. Her last teaching position was in Combined Locks, Wisconsin. After profession, June 30,1920, Sister began a new teaching ministry, first in New York at OLM; then at Holy Trinity, Bloomington where she was also prioress; St. John, Milwaukee and in Oklahoma City where she was vicaress for five of her eleven years there.


Sister's great ability to administer and her kind and forthright way with students and adults led to her election as council member in 1949, assisting Mother Benedicta. After twelve years on the council, Sister Benedict was appointed prioress at St. Dominic Villa, serving there selflessly for six years. Back to mission life and limited teaching, she endeared herself to all in the St. Thomas Apostle community - parishioners, students and sisters, giving invaluable behind- the-scene services. A hearing loss and other limitations led to her assignment

to St. Dominic Villa in 1979 where she lived out her past two years in prayerful and cheerful participation.


Sister's only immediate family survivor is Sister Marguerite Ryan, who lives at the Mound and was her frequent visitor at the Villa. Many other relatives, including her sister-in-law, Mrs. Eileen Ryan and Sister Hilaire Ryan, her Sinsinawa Dominican cousin, joined Sister at the funeral services May 7 in Queen of the Rosary Chapel. Fathers John Gerlach and T. D. Smith were concelebrants of the Mass of Resurrection.


May Sister Benedict, who saw so clearly the joys and infirmities of the human condition, now behold them transformed into eternity.


Her Missions were listed as ;

1920-31                                  New York, O.L.M.

1931-37                 Bloomington, Holy Trinity

1937-38                 Milwaukee, St. John

1938-49                 Oklahoma City (Vicaress 1944-49)

1949-61                 St. Clara (Member of the General Council)

1961-67                 St. Dominic Villa (Prioress)

1967-79                 Chicago, St. Thomas Apostle

1979-81                 St. Dominic Villa




Sister Marguerite Ryan (Winifred Ryan)

Great Granddaughter of Martin Powers




From the archives at Sinsinawa;

Sister Marguerite died at St. Dominic Villa on December 18, 1984 at the age of 90 and in the 57th year of her religious profession.


Winifred Ryan was born on May 16, 1894, in Madera, California, one of three daughters and three sons born to Catherine Gleeson of Nenagh, Ireland and Daniel Ryan of Kaukauna, Wisconsin. The family later moved to Kaukauna where Winifred grew up and received her grade school education at St. Mary's and attended Kaukauna High School. She completed her studies at Oshkosh Normal and began her teaching career at a rural school in Combined Locks. She went from here to Milwaukee where she taught at Victor Berger School Until 1926 when she entered the congregation.


Mr. And Mrs. Ryan both died while their family was still young, so Winifred took over the role of mother and helped raise her younger brothers and sisters. It was for this reason that she waited until she was thirty-two years old before coming to St. Clara. Her youngest sister Mary had just finished high school and her other sister, Sister Benedict, was already in the community.


Winifred was received as Sister Marguerite on August 4, 1927, and professed a year later. She taught in grade and high schools for over forty years--in Madison (Edgewood), Milwaukee (St. Robert), Chicago (St. Sabina, Visitation, and Trinity), Minneapo1is, Champaign, and Omaha (St. Cecilia). Sister returned to the Mound in 1971 and remained there until 1983 when she moved to the Villa.


One of the sisters at the Villa remembers her as principal of Edgewood Grade School. She was a teacher respected and loved in a special way by the students whom she taught English. Her students seemed to excel so well that seldom if

ever were they placed in freshman English classes, but, rather, were placed in sophomore classes. She was highly respected for her intelligence and grasp of her subject matter. The students loved being in her class. She worked long hours at her school work, going to her classroom early in the morning, and remaining long after school hours.


Sister Hilaire, a relative, remembers her as a child. The Ryan family had purchased turkey eggs for their farm and as the eggs hatched little Winifred was put in charge of shepherding the turkeys. She could often be seen in the fields, shooing the turkeys in the direction she wanted them to go.


Another sister remembers her as having been a very dedicated teacher at St. Robert's. She was a determined person with a deep sense of her own dignity and capability. The students looked forward to being in her class.


Sister worked in the Mound sewing room, making habits for some years. When her eyesight grew weaker she had to forego that duty, and one of her new hobbies which she developed was creating lovely cards made by pressing flowers and inserting them by means of her own technique into the paper. The process for doing this was found among her possessions at the Villa.


Father Don Georgen, O.P. celebrated a Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Marguerite on December 21, 1984.


Sister Hilaire (Ruth Winifred Ryan)

Great Grandaughter of Martin Powers

6/19/1899- 9/6/1986



Sister Hilaire Ryan died September 6, 1986 of pneumonia.  She was 87.  A member of the class of 1921, Sister Hilaire came back to Rosary College in 1928 to teach after receiving a Ph.D in biology from the University of Illinois.  She retired in 1974, and lived on campus, attending the greenhouse and tutoring until she was stricken with Parkinson's disease in 1984.  Sister Hilaire spent the last two years of her life at St. Dominic Villa, the Dominican retirement house in Dubuque, Iowa.

     Sister Hilaire left her mark on Rosary College.  The garden tucked between Coughlin and Power is named Ryan Park for her.  Thrift and resourceful, she created the park with plants she nurtured in the college greenhouse and slabs of concrete left over from the construction of Coughlin Hall.  She and a student helper labeled many of the trees on campus, writing the names in Latin and English on wooden plaques.

     Friends recall the many ways Sister Hilaire worked to make the Rosary campus beautiful.  Sister Gregory Duffy, who headed the Rosary College drama department from 1938 until her retirement in 1970, remembered the magnificent costumes Sister Hilaire sewed for more than 30 years of Rosary plays.  "In those days we did three major productions a year," said Sister Duffy, "and Hilaire, who was very interested in theater, sewed beautifully.  She always did a great job."




Sister Mary Josepha (Theresa Caroline Schuh)



 From the files of the Congregation of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Milwaukee WI.

The following hand written autobiography was found in Sister Josepha's file;


I, Sister Mary Josepha ' Teresa Schuh was born April 30, 1896 at Freedom, baptized in St, Nicholas church and named after my dear grandmother. On my first day at school, I sat close to my brother. The teacher asked my brother his name. He answered very slowly, 'Ja-cup', (Jacob) Schuh. Then she asked me my name, I answered 'Trace-cup Schuh' thinking that '-cup' belonged there. The teacher and pupils had some fun out of it.

We had to help on the farm very much. My father owned 168 acres of clear land. In spring and fall we had to stay home from school to work in the fields. When I was 17 years old I wanted to be a sister like my two Aunties, Sister Calixta and Calasanza. Sickness prevented me until I was 19. Two heavy operations cured me. After receiving permission from the family doctor, pastor and my parents I left for Milwaukee Aug. 1915. This was my first train ride. I had never seen a big city before. Homesickness was quite hard on me for some time.

In November of the same year, I was sent to Kenosha. My second year as candidate I was stationed at St. Leo's Milwaukee. At the end of this year I was permitted to prepare for my holy vows. August 2nd 1917 I entered the Noviate. My second years as novice I went to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin at Holy Ghost Mission. The following July 23, 1919, I was permitted to make profession, after which I returned to Chippewa, where I remained eight more years. After these eight years I was sent to St. Paul's Chicago, to take up the same kind of work I was used to, First and Second grades with sacristy work. In Feb. of that year I was transferred to Belvedere, Ill. Until June when I went to the motherhouse to be repaired. The following August I came to Lottaville, where I still am, to take the first and second grades there, together with my dear church work. I would feel lost if this charge were taken away from me. Amen.

Year                Missions                 City                              Grades taught

1915-16     St. George                        Kenosha, WI.               2

1916-17     St. Leo                             Milwaukee, WI.           Kindergarten

1918          Holy Ghost                      Chippewa Falls, WI.    1 & 2

1919-27     Holy Ghost                      Chippewa Falls, WI.    1 & 2

1927          St. Paul                            Chicago, IL.                 2

1928          St. James                          Belvedere, IL.              1 & 2

1928-32     St. Peter & Paul                Lottaville, IN.              1,2,3

1932-36     Our Lady of Lourdes       Dobie, WI.                   1,2,3,4

1936-45     Holy Angels                     Gary, IN.                     3

1945-76     St. Joseph Home              Green Bay, WI.



Sister Mary Hilary Cox (Catharine Cox)

Grand Niece of Martin Powers

Granddaughter of Patrick Cox



From the Archives at Sinsinawa; Baptized name Katie, listed as born in 1854 when she entered the convent at age 21. Received her habit on Aug 4, 1875, professed her vows on August 4, 1876 and died on April 4, 1881.

SISTER MARY HILARY COX - Sister Mary Hilary Cox was received into the community on August 4, 1875. She was everything that one could expect from a good religious, earnest, perfectly obedient and always cheerful so, and one of the most unselfish of beings. She was remarkable for her great interest in the Community's welfare, so that she never seemed to be a young Sister but rather one who had long identified herself with the general good. Most of her religious life was spent on the mission in Bloomington, Illinois, where she taught the higher grades in the boy's department. Not only her own pupils but all the children in the school loved and revered her. Her faith in prayer was another characteristic. All her doubts and difficulties, the temporal and spiritual needs of her Sisters and her pupils were laid before Our Lord in the tabernacle. Towards the end of the fourth year of her profession, her health began to decline. After a few months it was manifest that consumption was at work. Sister came home to die, and for about ten months she bore great suffering with uniform patience and resignation. On April 4, 1881, about an hour after receiving the Holy Viaticum, she breathed her last, being then twenty-seven years of age.


From the archives at Sinsinawa, Sister Robertine wrote in 1978 that the name Hilary was given to her Aunt and also to her sister Marjorie's boy, both in honor of Sister Mary Hilary Cox (1854-1881).  Sister Hilary, O.P., buried at Sinsinawa, Wisconsin.




On the 11th day of March 1876, Sister M. Reginald Kean, Sister M. Gonzaga Doyle, Sister M. Lucina Foy, Sister M.  Emerentia Martin and Sister M. Hilary Cox were, by the Council of Saint Clara Convent, Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, sent to be the first Sisters of the Convent of Saint Joseph, Bloomington, Diocese of Chicago.


Also, a brief mention is made in the Annuls of Holy Trinity Convent, Bloomington, IN. 'Sister Mary Hilary Cox taught the boys' school in the old frame building once used as a Methodist Church. She made the work a marked success-- in the face of many difficulties. Sister Hilary's love of truth could surely make her the banner bearer of the Dominican motto, "Veritas". A pupil of the Sisters (Miss Quinn) took Sister's name when she became a member of the Community, after Sister Hilary Cox's death. She now (1922) bears the name Sister Mary Hilary Quinn. Sister Hilary Cox died in 1881, from a cold first contracted while Watching with another Sister by the bier of Rev. Father Murphy. He was for sometime assistant priest at Holy Trinity Church. His death was sudden and a great shock to Father McDermot. His remains were taken to the Church. Here members of the Congregation and some of the Sisters watched during the night and day.'



Sister Mary Bartholomew Cox ( Margaret Cox)

Grand Niece of Martin Powers

Granddaughter of Patrick Cox



From the Archives at Sinsinawa; Baptized name Maggie, born in 1851, as reported when she entered the convent at age 23. Received her habit on April 5, 1874, professed her vows on August 4, 1875 and died on Mar 30, 1897.

Sister Mary Bartholomew Cox; Sister Mary Bartholomew Cox died almost suddenly at Waukegan, Illinois, where she was superioress of the convent at the time, March 30, 1897, in the twenty third year of her religious life. Sister's life had been spent as a teacher on the Missions, and the devotion and reverence which pupils and people felt towards her on the various missions where she exercised her zeal, give the best idea of her unselfish application to the work of education. The interest she took in her pupils even after they had left school showed her zeal for the souls redeemed by the Precious Blood, and her desire to make Catholic manhood and Catholic womanhood in this country an unanswerable argument in favor of the One True Church on earth. A severe cold which developed into pneumonia and resisted alike the skill of physicians and the loving care of her Sisters, brought Sister Bartholomew to receive the reward of her zealous labors in the Master's vineyard. Her remains were brought to St. Clara for internment. Sister Bartholomew was a sister of Sister Mary Hilary Cox of this community who died several years earlier.



Sister Mary Maximilia , (Mary Bernadina Elsbernd)

2nd cousin 2x removed of Herman Wilpolt

2/23/1882 - 6/5/1967



Entrance October 2, 1909

Investiture May 5, 1910

First Vows July 26, 1912

Final Vows August 12, 1918


While teaching she attended St. Francis Normal School in 1936,

then she attended Marian College, graduating in 1946 (at age 64) with a B.S. in Education.

From To School Location Grades Taught
1911 1921 Sacred Heart Cincinnati, Ohio 2-3-4
1921 1922 Holy Trinity St. Louis, MO. 2
1922 1923 St. Anthony Wichita, KS. 3-4
1923 1925 Annunciation Brazil, IN. 4-5-6
1925 1926 St. Bernard Winton Place, Cincinnati, OH. 1-2-3-4
1926 1927 St. Catherine St. Louis, MO. 3-4
1927 1932 St. Vincent Vincennes, IN. 3-4-5-6
1932 1934 St. Bonaventure Cincinnati, OH. 5
1934 1951 St. Leo Cincinnati, OH. 5
1951 1951 Holy Trinity St. Louis, MO. 5
1951 1952 St. Joseph Evansville, IN. 5-6
1952 1953 Little Flower Indianapolis, IN. 6
1953 1954 St. Francis Portage des Sioux, MO. 3-4-5
1954 1958 St. Francis de Sales Indianapolis, IN. 3-4
1958 1959 Our Lady of Sorrows Kansas City, MO. 3-4
1959 1961 St. Mary Bloomington, IN. 3
1961 1967 Retired to the Motherhouse Oldenberg, IN.  





Bridget Louise Wall

1-19-06 to 8-23-23

Franciscan Order of the Sisters of Charity, Manitowoc, WI.

Known as Bereta she entered religious life on June 29, 1920. After serving as a Postulant she was elevated to a Novice and was given the name , Sister Mary Eulogia (from the Greek, eulogia "a blessing" or possibly the feminine form of Eulogius of which there are five Saints with this name.) In the summer of 1922, she received her first teaching assignment at Manistique, Michigan and that winter came down with what they thought was influenza. She returned to the Mother House where it was determined that she was terminally ill with tuberculosis of the lungs. She took her final vows on April 25, from her sick bed and died on August 23, 1923.

It was not her youth or religious vocation that made Sister Eulogia unique, but rather her unsatisfied love of God and her complete resignation to his will. Suffering in silence and incredible patience Her sisters gathered around her to pray and in death they prayed to her. At the time of her death several magazine and newspaper articles were written about her short life. A local priest referred to her as the Angel of the Convent. ( An interesting note, in death rigormortis never set in and she was buried in the convent cemetery.)



Sister Robertine Burns (Elisabeth Burns)

2nd Great Grand Niece of Martin Powers

2nd Great granddaughter of Patrick Cox




Sinsinawa Dominican Archives

Sister Robertine Burns, OP, died at St. Dominic Villa, Dubuque, on Sept. 21, 2000. The Mass of Resurrection was celebrated in Queen of the rosary Chapel, Sinsinawa, on Sept. 25. Internment in the Motherhouse Cemetery followed. Matthias Walsh, OP, presided. None of Sr. Robertine's immediate family survives. Her nieces attended the funeral. Elizabeth Burns was born on May 13, 1909 in Freeport, IL., one of the six children of Robert and Mary (Cox) Burns. Elizabeth attended St. Mary's Elementary School and Freeport High School and Freeport High School. She entered St. Clara Novitiate after high school and, on Aug 5, 1929, made her first religious profession as Sr. Robertine. Sr. Robertine was an elementary teacher and resource tutor for 47 years. She taught in the following schools:

Sacred Heart, Washington, DC ('29-32)

St. Bernard's, Wauwatosa ('33-40)

St. Barnabas", Chicago ('41-44)

St. John's, Milwaukee ('44-45)

St. Giles', Oak Park ('46-48)

St. Augustine's, South St. Paul ('51-62)

Epiphany, Chicago ('62-68)

She served in resource centers at St. Thomas Aquinas, Milwaukee ('68-71)

St. Thomas Aquinas, Freeport ('71-73)

St. Rose's, Baltimore ('73-78)

and as a tutor at St. Peter's, Oshkosh ('78-79).

She went to the villa in 1979 and remained there for 21 years.

When we welcomed Sr. Robertine's body to the Gathering Place at the Mound, Mary Ellen Winston, OP, gave a biographical sketch of Sr. Robertine's life. She said this: Sr. Robertine wrote a paper in which she spoke of the graces of growing up in a loving family "The heritage of a Christian education in our home, through St. Clara's Academy's gifts of beauty received by our mother, resulted in a family with a desire to serve others and educated for service in the fields of welfare, medicine and mental health." In 1978 Sr. Robertine wrote: From the first sign of my vocation, I was graced with a love for Christ in the Eucharist, a firm belief that my vocation was to the Sinsinawa Dominicans, a great love for prayer and service to children and to the needy. All of these have grown through the Spirit into my Dominican vocation characterized in our Constitution as a call to prayer, and an awareness of the needs of the church." Sr. Mary Ellen continued: Through long bouts of illness of mind and body, she continued to preach the Gospel. Through gentleness, peacefulness, and a strong interest in what was happening in the world, in her family, and in our congregation, she continued to pray and preach. She loved study and wrestling with truth. She kept up as best she could on what was happening in the world and loved to share her thoughts with others.

At the Wake, Selina Stanaway, OP, offered her reflection on Sr. Robertine's life. Sr. Sal said the following: Sr. Robertine lived her vocation in good times, in hard times, in good health and in poor health. She loved to teach and instilled a love of reading in many young people. In her last years, she taught through her smile, given to those who ministered to her and that indicated acceptance, despite pain and loss of freedom. She preached through her resilience, her waiting for death to come. In his homily, Father Matt said this: Over the years, Jesus prepared a special place for Sr. Robertine in his father's house. It is a dwelling built for her selfless ministry as a teacher, built of her thoughtfulness in community, built of her smiles and tears, built of her hope and trust in the God who called her so many years ago to make God's Word her home.



SISTER LEONE FAUST, O.P. (Roberta Louise Faust)

Great Granddaughter of Herman Wilpolt

11/16/1930 - 2/24/1980



Religious Name: Sister Leone

Date of Birth: November 16, 1930

Entrance Date: September 14, 1950                     

Reception Date: August 17, 1951

First Profession: August 15, 1953             

Final Profession: August 15, 1959

Education:             1961    Dominican College, Racine, Wisconsin

1968          Waukesha Technical Institute, Waukesha, Wisconsin


COMMENTS ; Taught in elementary schools; did practical nursing at Villa Saint Ann, Our Lady of the Oaks Convent and St. Catherine's Infirmary.




1953-1954 Nativity of Our Lord Detroit, MI
1954-1/1956 Holy Angels Milwaukee, WI
1956-1961 St. Aloysius Sauk City, WI
1961-1962 Holy Angels Milwaukee, WI 
1962-1966 St. Clement Center Line, MI
1966-1967 Villa Saint Ann Oconomowoc, WI
1967-1969 Our Lady of the Oaks Convent  Pewaukee, WI
1969-1980   St. Catherine's Infirmary  Racine, WI


Death: February 24, 1980 Heart attack at St. Mary's Medical Center




Sister Ruth Elsbernd

2nd Cousin, 3x removed of Herman Wilpolt 

25 Aug 1945 Entered the Convent at Mount St. Francis, Dubuque, IA.

12 Aug 1948 Took vows to serve the Catholic Church as a Franciscan Sister



Ruth Elsbernd, OSF was born at home on the family farm near Festina, Iowa.


Her parents, John Leo and Martha Mary Kuennen Elsbernd, believed in Catholic education and sacrificed to have Ruth attend all four years of high school at Immaculate Conception Academy, Dubuque, Iowa, as a resident student.  Since Ruth had made first grade at age 5 staying with her Kuennen grandparents to attend the little country school near the Smallest Church, Ruth stayed home a year after grade school to help on the farm.


After high school, Ruth entered the convent at Mount St. Francis, Dubuque, on August 25, 1945, wanting to be a teacher and be like her vivacious, fun-loving aunt, Sister Cecelia Kuennen.  She received the name in religion of Sister Mary Bernette, but later changed back to her Baptismal name.  After professing vows of Gospel poverty, celibate love, and obedience, on August 12, 1948, Ruth taught at Remsen, Iowa and various schools in Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota.  She also served as parish organist, doing church work, and teaching religion to those not attending a Catholic school.


Having taught all grades, Sister Ruth was assigned to high school when the need arose at Larchwood, IA, Granville, IA, and Ossian, IA.   She taught all the sciences and math and English as needed.  Then courageously she took on the need for a college chemistry department at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, IA.  It was not too far to drive there from Mount St. Francis daily.  Sister Ruth left a fine department and well equipped lab built up during her five years there.

Then her mother's need for assistance with her dad's advanced Parkinson's disease was a need so she lived at home in Festina and taught part time at St. Lucas, Iowa.  Other services included later serving as live-in caregiver for a diabetic couple where the wife had had a stroke and bringing them daily Communion.  Previously, Clinical Pastoral Education enabled serving as chaplain at Xavier Hospital and St. Francis Home for a time, and being a librarian for Holy Trinity School in Dubuque when that was a need.

After retiring at age 70, Sister Ruth has been serving as an organist for the Carmelites in Eldridge, Iowa.




Sister Alice Hein, C.S.J.

Alice Gertrude Hein

2nd Great Granddaughter of Martin Powers

First Vows March 19, 1944  Final Vows August 15, 1947




        May 2003 Auto-Biography by Sister Alice Hein

I was born in Unity, WI., on a small farm where my parents lived with my grandparents, John and Mary Powers. At the age of 9 or 10, my family moved to Ringle, WI., a little town near Wausau. My brother, sisters and I attended the public school there. After graduating from the elementary school in Ringle, I stayed home for a few years to help at home. Besides, at that time, there was no bus service between Ringle and Wausau, where the nearest high school was located. These were the Great Depression years. After three years spent at home, I did get a chance to attend the Junior High School in Wausau, where I worked for my room and board. After one year there, and through the kindness and generosity of Grand Uncle Dick Powers (Richard), I was able to attend St. Joseph's Academy in Green Bay, conducted by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, where I was a boarder for the rest of my high school years.

Having been inspired by the life and work of the Sisters at the Academy, I decided to join the Sisters after my graduation in 1941. Their Motherhouse was in St. Louis, Missouri. Upon being received into the Congregation, I received the name of Sister John Chrysostom, the 'John' intended to honor all of the John's in my family ' grandfather, father, uncle and brother. This name I answered to until we were allowed to return to our baptismal names after Vatican II.

My first assignment was to teach at St. Joseph's Indian School on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Keshena, WI. It was a boarding school, a part of the mission operated by the Franciscan Fathers. Here I remained almost ten years, a mission very dear to my heart. With the exception of three years in the Denver area, my 47 years as an elementary school teacher were in Missouri ' St. Louis, Hannibal, O'Fallon, St. Joseph, and Kansas City, where I spent 30 years. I retired from teaching in 1991, and then spent the next ten years doing volunteer work. In 2001, I moved to our retirement home in St. Louis, Nazareth Living Center ' where I am presently living, and where I expect to spend the rest of my days. Last year, March 2002, I celebrated my 60th Anniversary as a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet.



Sister Marilyn Micke, OSB

Mary Roseann Micke

Granddaughter of Gertrude (Hemsing)(Wilpolt) Micke

Final Vows July 1941






Masters of Education                                 Marquette University

Bachelor of Science                                  College of St. Scholastica

Life Certificate ' Teacher and Administrator, State of Minnesota

Certification ' Teacher Perceiver Specialist,




1938-1953 Teacher                                    Diocese of Duluth Schools

1953-1959 Teacher, Principal                    St. Rose School, Proctor

1959-1969 Supervisor of Schools              Diocese of Duluth

1969-1982 Superintendent of Schools       Diocese of Duluth

1982-1992 Executive Director                   Operation Aware, Duluth

 992-          Business Office                       St. Scholastica Monastary,

                                                                  Duluth, MN.




Sister Pauline Micke

Pauline Gertrude Micke

Great Granddaughter of Gertrude (Hemsing)(Wilpolt) Micke


Sister  Josephe Marie

School Sister of Notre Dame

Mary Therese Flynn

3rd Great Grand Daughter of Patrick Cox



Currently Director of Adult & Family Ministry At St. Mary's - Hales Corners, WI



Sister Judith Kavanaugh

3rd Great Granddaughter of Martin Powers

St. Joseph of Carondelet



Judith Carol Kavanaugh was born in Kimberly (St. Elizabeth Hospital was really in Appleton, but we lived in Kimberly.), Wisconsin, the second of six children of James E. Kavanaugh and Dorothy Heaney Kavanaugh. The family moved to Milwaukee because of her father's work and then in 1946 to Terre Haute, Indiana.

Judy started school in Terre Haute, kindergarten in the Public School and then first and second grade at St. Margaret Mary's school. In those two years she made her first confession, first communion and was confirmed. In 1950 her father was again transferred in his company and the family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Judy and her siblings attended Incarnation school.

Judy began high school at St. Margaret's Academy. After graduation Judy entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has lived in community since that time. After four and a half years of novitiate and juniorate, during which time she earned a B.A. from the College of St. Catherine with a major in Latin, Judy began her career of teaching.

She taught Latin and religion at St. Joseph's Academy in St. Paul for three years. Judy then went to teach at Derham Hall High School in 1968.

Latin classes were dwindling, so Judy returned to school for a second major in Spanish. She studied at Universidad Ibero Americana in Mexico City for some of her Spanish major. Later she began studies in Secondary School Administration, earning a Specialists Certificate in Secondary School Administration in 1978 from the University of Minnesota.

Since 1968 Judy has taught Spanish and Latin at Derham Hall, then Cretin-Derham Hall after the merger with a neighboring school in 1987. During that time she was also principal of Derham Hall for three years and taught at Benilde-St. Margarets and St. Bernards for one year each during time away from Derham Hall or Cretin-Derham Hall.

Judy loves to travel and has traveled to Spain, Italy, Greece, Mexico and Peru with students. She enjoys traveling with students. She has also traveled to England and Ireland as well as parts of the United States. Judy is also a bicycle rider. In the past she went on bike camping trips with friends, carrying all the gear on bikes. For the past twelve years she has done The Ride Across Minnesota to raise funds for the MS society of Minnesota. It is a 5 day long bike ride of 300-350 miles.

Judy also enjoys spending time with family and friends. She loves to read, and enjoys crafts and sports. She is active in her CSJ community, serving on committees and being present at most community happenings. At the present she continues to live in community in St. Paul with two other Sisters of St. Joseph.


 Sister Mary Patricia Leroy SNJM

Mary Patricia Leroy

2nd Great Granddaughter of Martin Powers



Sister Mary Ellen Green

Mary Ellen Green

3rd Great Granddaughter of Joseph Romenesco


Mary Ellen was born in West Bend, WI, oldest daughter of Thomas R. and Mary Grace Green.  After completing her undergraduate degree in French Education she entered the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation in 1968 and was professed as a Dominican Sister in 1970.  Since then she has served many different areas of ministry, including secondary education in Freeport, IL, Whitefish Bay, WI, and Minneapolis, MN.  She was Director of the Southwest Region (California and Arizona) of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, served as formation director for her congregation, as a retreat director, and most recently as leader of the Eastern Province of her congregation.  She is currently enjoying a sabbatical year, based at the Friends of God Dominican Ashram in Kenosha, WI.

Sister M. Pamela, Judith Moehring

3rd Great-Granddaughter of Joseph Romenesco






Father Alphonse J. Elsbernd, S.V.D.

2nd cousin 2x removed of Herman Wilpolt

12/13/1899 - 5/31/1997




From Nancy Brincks Elsbernd Family History 2002. Written by Sister Helen Elsbernd;

Alphonse was born on December 13, 1899 in Festina, IA.  He received his grade school education at Our Lady of Seven Dolors, Festina.  After graduation he helped his father on the farm.  While cultivating corn he received his calling to become a priest.  Alphonse joined the Society of Divine Word (S.V.D.) receiving his education at Divine Word Academy Techny where he was ordained a priest on May 9, 1929.  Father Elsbernd read his First Solemn High Mass at Our Lady of Seven Dolors, Festina on May 30, 1929.  The bride chosen to carry the burse was Rita (Elsbernd) Nolte, flower girls were Agatha (Tieskoetter) Hoffman and Leona (Lutkenhaus) Krull.

His first assignment was teaching at Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.  In 1938, he was sent to England to study African languages.  On October 13, 1938 Father Elsbernd arrived in Gold Coast, Africa, one of the first two S.V.D. priests to establish the mission there.  When Gold Coast gained its independence from England in 1954, it became Ghana and was the size of the state of Louisiana and had about 50 different languages.  Father Elsbernd was highly respected for his facility with languages, his ability to exchange different money currencies, and his emphasis on promoting education.  He is credited by his S.V.D. confreres for establishing over 100 schools in that country, including the first girls' school, a teachers' training school, and a college seminary.  The educational system he established is seen to be the basis for all the education in that country today.

In 1971 he returned to the States and became the chaplain at St. Joseph's Hospital, New Hampton, IA.  During his stay at the hospital he established St. Frederick's parish in Fredericksburg and became their pastor. 


In 1975 Father made a family history of the life of his parents and their families.  He also wrote how the Catholic Church was established in Festina. (Read Rev. Alphonse Elsbernd's story of his family history)


Retiring in 1981 his home was at S.V.D. college in Epworth.  He enjoyed stamp collecting as a hobby during his retirement.  With failing health he returned to Techny at the Divine Word retirement home.   Father Alphonse J. Elsbernd, S.V.D., age 97 died at the Divine Word Infirmary, Techny, IL on May 31, 1997 of complications of heart and pneumonia.  He will always be remembered as a gentle, soft-spoken, and devout priest.



Elmer Elsbernd

2nd cousin 3x removed of Herman Wilpolt



Father Elmer is pictured in the 1965 family portrait of the Alois Elsbernd family.


2002 From Nancy Brincks Elsbernd Family History

9 Jan 1965 Ordained a Priest for the Society of Divine Word of Techny, IL.  17 Jan 1965 Celebrated his First Mass


Father Elmer Elsbernd attended Our Lady of Seven Dolores grade school in Festina, IA.  In 1950 he entered the Society of the Divine Word Seminary High School in East Troy, Wisconsin.  He had his novitiate in Canisius, NY.  He was ordained at Techny, IL with his parents and many family members present.  His first Mass was celebrated at his home parish in Festina, IA.

In the year following his ordination, Father Elmer earned a Masters degree in Mathematics at DePaul University while also assisting in an Afro-American parish in Chicago, IL.  He served as Vocation Director, Assistant Dean of Students, and teacher at Divine Word College in Epworth, IA from 1965 - 1972.  He was transferred to Divine Word High School Seminary in Perrysburg, Ohio in 1972 where he was the Dean of Students except for two years when he served as the Principal.  He also managed a retreat house and helped in various parishes.

After 14 years at Perrysburg, Father Elmer went to the Divine Word Missions in the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua, New Guinea to do pastoral work.  Concurrent with his serving in several parishes from 1986 - 1996, he started a domestic school for girls in Kainantu, was chaplain at a prison, and for several years performed the administrative duties of the diocesan bishop of Goroka.  Although English is the official language in Papua, New Guinea, Father Elmer learned Pidgin English so that he could preach and communicate with the native people who used many different native languages.  In 1996 he was elected as the Provincial Superior for all the Divine Word Missionaries in Papua, New Guinea who numbered about 220 priests and brothers from 23 countries.  He served in this position until his return to the United States for medical care in January 2001.

In addition to his fulfilling his priestly vocation, Father Elmer enjoyed the hobby of woodworking, visiting with his family and traveling.  He was diverse in his talents and abilities -- as shown by the fact he used a caterpillar for a snow plow to open roads and helped with field work while in Canisius, NY; drove a school bus and ran a summer camp for boys in Perrysburg; helped with baling and took nieces and nephews on trips when on home visits, and did many handyman jobs wherever he was.


Father Elsbernd was a member of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), an international Catholic missionary society serving the poor in more than 60 countries.




Sister Helen Elsbernd

Helen Elsbernd

2nd cousin 3x removed of Herman Wilpolt



Sister Helen is pictured in the family group of the Alois Elsbernd family 1965.

2002 From Nancy Brincks Elsbernd Family History

 Joined the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration on 28 Aug 1954 in Lacrosse, WI. 

 First Profession of Vows On Aug 12, 1958. - FSPA


Helen Elsbernd was born on the family farm.  She is the third daughter and seventh child of Alois and Loretta Kuennen Elsbernd.  Childhood memories include many happy days of playing with her brothers and sisters.  Her early education was at St. Mary's School in Festina.  At that time she had an early experience of carpooling - fourteen children from six families were driven to school together each day.

After ten years of Catholic education at St. Mary's, Helen joined the Franciscan     Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA) in La Crosse, WI where she completed her  high school education as an aspirant at St. Rose High School in La Crosse.  Helen   was received into the novitiate of the Franciscan Sisters on August 12, 1956.  She  was then known as Sister Mary Mark, a name she kept until she returned to her baptismal name about 1968.  She took her first vows on August 12, 1958 and final vows five years later.

Helen completed her college education at Viterbo College in 1965 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a minor in mathematics.  Interspersed with her college education, she had five years of teaching:  three years of seventh grade at Sacred Heart School in Eau Claire, WI and two years at St. Francis School in Provo, Utah.  In 1965 she was asked to begin graduate studies in chemistry at the University of Illinois where she received a master's degree in 1967 and a doctorate in inorganic chemistry in 1969.

Upon completion of her graduate studies, Helen joined the chemistry faculty of Viterbo College at La Crosse, WI in 1969, was named department chair the following year, and elected President of the Faculty Senate a few years later.  She was then asked to accept the position of Academic Dean, which she held from 1976 until 1989.  After twenty years at Viterbo, Helen resigned and accepted the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs at Marycrest College in Davenport, Iowa.  When that college became affiliated with a Japanese university several years later, it became known as Teikyo Marycrest University, with a strong emphasis on international education.

In 1994 Helen was called to serve as Vice President of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, an elected leadership position she held until June 30, 2002.  During this time she was the liaison with the congregation's sponsored ministries in health care and at Viterbo University.  Beginning in January 2003, Helen will minister as the Director of Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center in Hiawatha, Iowa which was begun by the FSPA's in the mid 1990's.

Throughout her religious and professional life, Helen has been blessed with many opportunities and challenges, which were enriching and growth-filled.  While in academia she had a Bush Summer Fellowship to study higher education administration at Harvard University.  Beginning with her years at Teikyo Marycrest University and thereafter, she has had many international travel opportunities, including several trips to Japan and Italy and a month's study in Germany under a Fulbright scholarship. She has served on numerous boards in the local community, including Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce, and Franciscan Skemp Healthcare; as well as the Wisconsin Catholic Health Association, and the national board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.



James Herbert Elsbernd

2nd cousin 3x removed of Herman Wilpolt

Ordained catholic priest 6/2/1990


Sister Mary Elsbernd

2nd cousin 4x removed of Herman Wilpolt



Sep 1964 Entered Convent - Order of St. Francis, Dubuque, IA

Mary Elsbernd is the first daughter of Leo and Helen Hemesath Elsbernd. She was born in Decorah, Iowa during the Winneshiek County Fair across the street.  While at home, she was active in 4-H in the local club as well as a county officer.  While at Ossian De Sales High School, she was active in music, speech, the National Honor Society, Catholic Students Mission Crusade and Young Christian Students.

After graduating from De Sales, she joined the Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque, Iowa in September 1964.  She graduated from Briar Cliff College (1968) with a degree in French and German and a secondary education teaching certificate.  When she did her student teaching at Central High School in Sioux City (because it was the only school which offered German in the curriculum) she borrowed and taught in her sisters' clothes for 12 weeks because it was a public high school.  She taught French and religion at Aquin High School in Cascade, IA for 6 years, and then taught religion at Wahlert High School in Dubuque, IA for 5 years.  During that time, she completed a Masters degree in theology at the St. John's University, Collegeville, MN (1977).

In the fall of 1979 Mary began teaching at Briar Cliff College, Sioux City, IA.  After one year, she began studying for a doctoral degree in theology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (BELGIUM).  She completed both a Ph.D. in Religious Studies (Social Ethics) and a S.T.D. in (Moral) Theology before returning to Briar Cliff College in February 1985.  She taught ethics and scriptures courses there until 1992, when she took a position at the Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University Chicago.  Mary teaches courses in scripture, social ethics, social analysis, and Catholic social encyclicals.  She was the graduate program director for the Master of Divinity degree (1995-2001), before becoming the director of the Institute of Pastoral Studies in July 2001.  She completed another Master's degree in Human Resources in January 1999.

Mary has published articles in Theological Studies, Horizons, Ephemerides, as well as in numerous popular magazines and has published two books A Theology of Peacemaking.  A Road, A Vision, A Task (1989) and When Love's Not Enough (2002, 3rd place award in Theology by the 2003 Catholic Press Association)   A Theo-Ethic of Justice (2002).

In summer 2001 she survived a bout with cancer.  She enjoys reading, walking, sewing, traveling, theatre and concerts.



Rev Maximilian Elsbernd

2nd cousin 2x removed of Herman Wilpolt



According to the records of his sister, Sister Mary Maximilia Elsbernd,

Frank Maximilian Elsbernd died of a ruptured appendix shortly before his ordination.


Sister Rose Elsbernd

Rose Mary Elsbernd

2nd cousin 3x removed of Herman Wilpolt




Sister Rose is pictured in the family group of the Alois Elsbernd family 1965.

2002 From Nancy Brinck Elsbernd Family History

8 Sep 1963 Joined the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of Lacrosse, WI.

4 Aug 1972 Final Vows - FSPA, Lacrosse, WI


Rose Mary entered St. Rose Convent in September 1963.  She was professed a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration on August 12, 1966.  On August 4, 1972 she made her life commitment of final vows as a religious sister.

Sister Rose has ministered in various positions in the states of  Iowa, Oklahoma, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  She has been teacher, parish minister, campus minister, counselor, spiritual director, and retreat director.  She has worked within he Franciscan community in several positions of welcoming new members.  Currently, Sister Rose is the director of Villa Maria Retreat and Conference Center in Frontenac, MN.


Rev. Father Eugene La Meres

2nd Great Grandson of Patrick Cox





Read the newspaper article honoring Rev. Eugene




Rev. Timothy McGowan

3rd Great Grandson of Martin Powers




This site powered by The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding ©, v. 12.0.1, written by Darrin Lythgoe 2001-2021.

Maintained by Jay. | Data Protection Policy.


This search will find all the info on this site that Google has indexed.
It will NOT find everything that is in our genealogy database.
Go to Advanced Search to search the genealogy database.

info HELP

THANK YOU for visiting 1FamilyTree logo 1FAMILYTREE
If you find something of value here, please consider a donation to help cover costs

info FIND

info INFO