A funeral Mass for Sister Elaine Margaret Besand was celebrated Oct. 3 at Nazareth Living Center in south St. Louis County. Sister Elaine died Sept. 28 at Nazareth Living Center. A longtime administrative assistant, she was 78 and a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 56 years.
Born Mildred Marie in Festus on June 27, 1941, to Valle Francis and Thelma (Bohnert) Besand, she was sent to be a boarder at Ursuline Academy for high school. After high school, she moved to St. Louis and lived at McCauley Hall, run by the Sisters of Mercy. She became an active member of the Cathedral Parish. When she talked to her priest spiritual director about a religious vocation, he recommended the Sisters of St. Joseph, who staffed the Cathedral School at the time.
Mildred wasn’t interested in being a teacher because she was deaf and preferred doing office work. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on Sept. 15, 1962. Eleven months later, she returned to the cathedral for her reception, receiving the habit and name Sister Elaine Margaret. She made her final profession on Aug. 1, 1970. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Fontbonne College in 1967.
In 1967, she was missioned to St. Joseph Hospital in Hancock, Michigan, where she did clerical work for the nursing staff. A year later, she went to Avila College in Kansas City, Missouri, where she did clerical work and was the bookstore assistant for almost 40 years. She enjoyed her work at Avila College, and enjoyed relating to the students who visited the bookstore.
In 2006, she decided she wanted to use her time and talents as a seamstress. She supported herself in that occupation, taking up many rooms in the convent with her sewing machines. In 2015, she retired to Nazareth Living Center, with a couple of her sewing machines in tow.
She is survived by a sister, Elaine Keil of St. Louis. Burial was in Resurrection Cemetery.