Dear Sisters and Associates, Co-Workers, Family, and Friends,
On the day of her 80th jubilee, our Sister Virginia Ann Streit wavered between an earthly remembrance and a heavenly feast. Who can deny that she chose the better part as at 6:45 p.m. she accepted the latter invitation? Actually, Virginia Ann had told individuals throughout this year that she would not be celebrating jubilee here. In more recent days she could be heard praying, “Come, angels; angels, come!”
Emma Josephine Streit was born November 20, 1921 and raised on a farm at St. Ann’s, Jennings County, Indiana, approximately five miles northeast of North Vernon. There she helped with the horses, cows, pigs, and chickens, as well as with her mother’s large garden. She recalled an unusual farm technique—throwing water on the hens to dislodge them from their nests when it was time to collect the eggs!
Though Emma never knew any Sisters, she had heard her parents speak of them and read about them in Catholic magazines. Her early interest in the Franciscans began when she read about the first Franciscan missionaries in California. It was while she did housework in Dayton, Ohio during summer vacations from high school that Emma looked through the telephone directory for addresses of various religious communities. As she wrote in her autobiography, “My purpose was to find the community to which God was calling me.” Finding in the telephone book the address of Our Lady of Mercy, she connected with Sister Germaine who, during a subsequent visit, showed her our mission list. Emma was impressed with the many missions of our Oldenburg Community, as well as by the Sisters she met at the Dayton parish. That visit led to her entrance in September of 1939.
Virginia Ann taught primary grades for her whole teaching career and loved the little ones. It was her delight to be the one who taught them to read. Summarizing her life’s journey in our most recent Celebrate, Virginia Ann wrote, “When I entered, I never thought I would be a teacher. I just expected to be a ‘nun’ and pray. Then I was sent out to teach primary grades and found that I loved the children and had joy in teaching. So from 1941-1981 I taught grades from first to fourth and enjoyed it all.”
After forty years in this ministry, Virginia Ann was asked to be a nursing assistant in the convent healthcare center, and took a short course as preparation. She enjoyed this ministry as well; it provided an opportunity for one-to-one interaction, as opposed to dealing with a whole classroom full of kids.
Virginia Ann was a meticulous, detailed-oriented person. She spent much time researching her family genealogy and left pages of information, listing names and dates of each individual, what was his/her occupation, and where each was buried. Her love of family also showed itself in her comprehensive directions indicating to whom each of her “treasures” should be returned upon her death.
One could always find a warm welcome in visiting Virginia Ann. When an individual Sister stopped in her room, Virginia Ann might have to ask for the person’s first name, but she herself could always quickly supply the last name as well. Virginia Ann delighted in having family come each year to participate in Family Fun Day. Hers was always one of the first circles of benches to be reserved on campus for this event!
To Virginia Ann’s many nieces and nephews, her extended family and friends, we offer our sympathy. Our heartfelt gratitude extends as well to those who provided her with loving care in St. Clare Hall.
Sister Virginia Ann, our 80-Year Jubilarian, may you celebrate forever an eternal Jubilee!
S. Christa Franzer
For the General Council