Early on the evening of November 7, shortly after sunset, S. Ruth Breig (S. Rose Michael) passed quietly from this life to eternal life. The twilight drew her gently into the joy of being held in the palm of God’s hand for she knew that she was precious in God’s eyes.
Ruth Brieg was born into a home that was full and busy. Her parents, John and Emma had 12 daughters. Ruth was the third youngest. After the evening meal, they all sat around the table and prayed the rosary. Each of them had chores to do but doing the dishes was a team effort. Ruth relates, “We had a fair amount of fussing but we had a lot of love and laughter too.”
Ruth attended Saint Anthony’s grade school in Dayton where she was taught by our Sisters. Though school was not easy for her, she was happy when she met our Sisters. She had a lot of fun helping them after school. “They were a happy and joyful bunch. That was the beginning of my Franciscan vocation,” said Ruth. “I liked what I saw and wanted what they had. I wanted to follow God like they did.” She also had a sister who preceded her into the community, Sister Rita Carol.
Ruth attended Julienne High School where she was taught by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She had a sister in the Notre Dame de Namur community but the Franciscans caught her heart. In high school, she aspired to be on the All Star team in basketball. Being short didn’t stop her. Because of her love of sports and determination she succeeded. The Reds were her sports team. As a true Reds fan, she would attend games whenever she could.
When Ruth was invested as a novice, she took the name of S. Rose Michael. One of her classmates took the name, S. Jean Michael, and Ruth referred to the two of them as twins. Happy as she was, when she entered the community, a classmate reported during her postulant year, she was always going to the basement to “pack” her trunk.
Ruth had a long teaching career. She was an excellent primary teacher and had her way of encouraging shy children. She mentored beginning teachers, helping them grow in confidence and encouraging new ideas.
Arts and crafts were of great interest to Ruth, and she was in her glory as she decorated her colorful classroom. She learned to macramé, made beaded jewelry and learned how to crochet. She eventually branched out to be an art teacher for five years.
Upon retiring from teaching, she worked for the Central Indiana Council on Aging. There she helped elderly people remain in their homes. Later, the Human Resources Office at the Motherhouse benefited from Ruth’s skills as a clerk for 11 years.
Ruth was never one to pass up a community trip or outing. She was quite adventurous as she ventured out to the public library to get books to read before that was the thing to do.
For their 25th Jubilee, her class went to New York and once upon returning from a trip to Canada, she and another Sister had to give up a bag of oranges that they had purchased.
A lover of candy and always sharing, Ruth distributed the candy that she received from relatives to the Sisters on the third floor of Saint Clare Hall.
We thank you, Ruth, for the gifts that you have shared with so many children as well as their parents and with the elderly. We thank you for sharing your life with us.
We extend our sympathy to Sister Ruth’s sisters, Glenna, Joan, Rita Jane and Mary Ellen, along with their families as well other family members, classmates and friends.
Our thanks to her caregivers and pastoral care in Saint Clare Hall.
Thankful for this generous woman,
For the General Council