Sister Rita came to know the Sisters of Mercy as a child and joined the community in Detroit, Michigan, on September 7, 1949. On August 16, 1955, she made perpetual vows as a Sister of Mercy. The motto she chose for her silver ring was “Thy will be done.”
From 1952 until 1984, Sister Rita taught elementary school children in Traverse City, Hazel Park, Berkley, Auburn, Rogers City, Howell, Detroit, Cheboygan and Cadillac. Along the way, Sister Rita earned a bachelor’s degree from Mercy College of Detroit and a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame.
It was time for a change in 1984, so Sister Rita became the coordinator of services at the Readiness Center, a program in Benton Harbor, Michigan, begun by the Sisters of Mercy to prepare disadvantaged children for school. When it became evident the mothers also needed help, Sister Rita initiated a series of classes for them. Meeting nutritional needs, sewing and creating home activities were all part of the curriculum. She thoroughly enjoyed this ministry and left a well-established plan when she left it.
Sister Rita’s next assignment was as a support person in the activity program at McAuley Center. Her creative abilities were fully exercised as she helped senior sisters with numerous fulfilling projects, including an annual Christmas sale. She fully retired in 2002.
Sister Rita is fondly remembered as a peaceful, prayerful person who always had time for others. On this year’s missioning form, she added the word “presence” to her ministry of prayer, considering this a ministry she could best perform. When Sister Rita completed her life’s journey, she was accompanied by several sisters singing Catherine McAuley’s “Suscipe” as she took her last breaths.