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OBITUARY | Sister Mary Berenice Hartke, SSND

A funeral Mass for Sister Mary Berenice Hartke was celebrated Jan. 14 at Theresa Center chapel at the Sarah Community in Bridgeton. Sister Berenice died Jan. 10 at Anna House. She was 95 years old.

Sister Berenice was born on June 24, 1926, the fifth of 10 children born to Clara (Cremer) and Aloysius Hartke on a farm near Dietrich, Illinois. She was baptized with the name Veronica Marie on June 27, 1926, at St. Aloysius Church in Bishop Creek, Illinois. The family of five girls and five boys included two older sisters who became School Sisters of Notre Dame, Sister Mary Claritus and Sister Mary Lois, and a brother who became a Franciscan priest, Father Simon.

She was taught by the Sisters of the Precious Blood from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. From early childhood, she desired to follow her two older sisters into religious life. When she completed elementary school, her parents permitted her to enter the aspiranture at Sancta Maria in Ripa, St. Louis. During these high school years, her desire to become a School Sister of Notre Dame deepened.

She entered the candidature at Sancta Maria in Ripa on Aug. 25, 1943. As a second-year candidate, she was sent to teach third and fourth grades at St. Aloysius School in St. Louis. She was received into the novitiate on July 30, 1945, and given the name Mary Berenice. She pronounced her first vows on July 31, 1946, and final vows on July 31, 1952.

Sister Berenice received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Webster College (now University) in 1955 and a master’s degree in education from Saint Louis University in 1973.

Sister Berenice ministered in formal Catholic education for 58 years. She taught at St. Joseph in Conway, Arkansas; St. Aloysius Gonzaga in St. Louis; St. Boniface in Koelztown; St. Henry in Belleville, Illinois; Immaculate Conception in Marrero, Louisiana; Immaculate Conception in West Alton; All Souls in Overland; St. Marianne in Pico Rivera, California; St. Anthony in Quincy, Illinois; and St. Anthony in Effingham, Illinois.

She also served as principal at Immaculate Conception in West Alton; Our Lady of Perpetual Help in St. Louis; St. Charles Borromeo in St. Charles; and St. Anthony in Quincy. In her retirement years, she tutored at Notre Dame Tutorial/Learning Center at Sancta Maria in Ripa for six years.

Sister Berenice was missioned to The Sarah Community at Veronica House in Bridgeton in 2009 and Anna House in 2018. She celebrated 75 years of religious profession in 2021.

Sister Berenice is survived by her sister, Catherine Hardick.

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OBITUARY Sister Mary Berenice Hartke SSND 7257

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