Sister Theophane Wurzer, Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist, entered eternal life on May 4, 2016 at the Franciscan Life Process Center, Lowell, Mich. where she has lived for the past 25 years. Sister Theophane was born on June 27, 1921, in St. Lucas, Iowa, the fifth of twelve children of Konrad and Barbara Wurzer. She was named Theonilla. After attending St. Luke School in St. Lucas, she finished her junior and senior years at Aquinas High School in La Crosse, Wisconsin. In 1940, she entered the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, and in 1941, as a novice, was named Sister Theophane. She professed first vows in 1943. In 1973 Sister Theophane became a founding member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist.
Sister Theophane attended Viterbo College in La Crosse and the Catholic University of America where she received a Bachelor of Nursing degree in 1952 with a focus on pediatrics. She obtained a Master of Science in Nursing Education from Indiana University in 1967. She spent a total of 21 years in La Crosse teaching pediatrics and maternal-child nursing in St. Francis School of Nursing and Viterbo College. Her post-graduate work was at the University of Windsor. From 1959 to 1966 she was the medical and pediatrics supervisor at Sacred Heart Hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Her nursing experience also included four years as an instructor in the St. Luke Nursing School, Duluth, Minnesota, and six months in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Sister Theophane served in the Holy Land from 1979 to 1991. She began a nursing program for Bethlehem University in Bethlehem. In five Palestinian villages she initiated a program of teaching new mothers techniques of infant massage to increase parent-child bonding and to promote physical and psychological health for the babies.
Returning to the USA in 1991, Sister Theophane came to the Lowell, Michigan center where, as a nurse, she cared for the elderly Sisters and coordinated a group of volunteers to assist with projects at the Franciscan Life Process Center.
Sister Theophane is survived by the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, the Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist, the Franciscan Apprentices, her sisters, Irma Hageman and Alvina Hemesath Murray of Lawlor, Iowa, Rosaria Einck of Festina, Iowa, Alma Hemesath of Ossian, Iowa, and Doris Smith of St. Lucas, her sisters-in-law Margaret Wurzer of St. Lucas and Sis Wurzer of Waucoma, Iowa, and many nephews and nieces.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Anton, Edwin, Carl, Francis and Alvin Wurzer, her sister Ann Kuennen, eighteen Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist and a Franciscan Brother of the Eucharist.
Funeral arrangements are in the care of Gerst Funeral Home and Sister Patricia Glass, FSE, Funeral Director.
A wake will be held at the Annunciation Chapel of the Franciscan Life Process Center, 11650 Downes Street, Lowell, Mich. on Thursday, May 12th from 4-7 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Mary Great Mother of God Church, 402 Amity St., Lowell, on Friday, May 13th at 10:00 a.m. Burial will be in the Franciscan Cemetery, Lowell.
As I started my first working shift of the 2019 as an e-ICU RN this time 08:32 am at Advocate Aurora Health in Oak Brook Illinois; out of no where; it came to my mind Sister Theophane who was my Pediatric & Maternity Teacher at Bethlehem University in the Holy Land of Palestine, where I graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Sciences.
Sister Theophane is an admired person of faith, who denied herself for the sake of the unfortunate and destitute. She spent over 12yrs in the West Bank of Palestine, where she was a touch of Mercy and Kindness for the people living under an ongoing occupation. She has an eye-witness on the Palestinian plight that included collective punishment, Land confiscation, demolishing houses, uprooting trees, imprisonment of the underage for expressing their out rage towards the occupation of their home land. Now, there is an apartheid and segregation policy against the Palestinians that is culminating with ethnic cleansing through illegal policies to drive the natives out of the holy land; and I am one of the people who ended leaving the country, hopefully, temporarily for the harsh living conditions under the occupation.
Sadly to say, the politicians in the states, were able to abuse the might of the government of the united states to legitimize the occupation of the holy land, then support it till this second, with help of the surrounding dictator regimes denying the aspirations of the middle eastern populous since the end of the great war in 1918.
Sister Theophane was the humane face of the American people against the corrupted political harm inflected on the Palestinian people, but she was a band aid on the gushing Palestinian wounds.
My colleagues and myself, will always remember Sister Theophane as a Humble person of peace and humane advancement in life through knowledge and healthy communication with respect to the different, since we all belong to the same origin. ” Oh People, We created you from a Man and a Woman; and we made you nations and tribe so you that you can get acquainted to each other; and best among you to Allah is the most Pious”.
I raise my hat high, to the beloved Sister Theophane for her sacrifices to the Palestinian people, her image in my heart will always be in the Hall of Fame. As I thank her Family, for bringing to the World such a caring person, that treated us without prejudice or pity, but with respect and a caring heart.