A memorial mass for Sister Mary Doris Ashcraft, FSM, will be celebrated at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9 in the chapel at The Sarah Community in Bridgeton. Sister Doris died Jan. 26 at The Sarah Community. She was 82 and had been a Franciscan Sister of Mary for 62 years.
Gwendolyn Sandra Ashcraft was born April 8, 1935, in Omaha, Neb. She attended Mercy Academy in Marshall, Mo., and became Catholic at the age of 12. She attended high school at St. Aloysius Academy in Kansas City for three years, then found work at St. Mary's Hospital. She entered the Sisters of St. Mary on March 4, 1955. She received the name Sister Mary Doris, and she professed final vows Sept. 8, 1962. She earned a certificate as a patient visitor through St. Mary's Health Center in 1977 and a certificate in healing touch through the Colorado Center Healing Touch Institute in 2001.
Sister Doris served in housekeeping at the motherhouse until 1966, then in the bakery, housekeeping and dietary at St. Joseph Hospital in St. Charles from 1966 to 1975. In 1975, she moved to St. Francis Hospital in Blue Island, Ill., serving as sacristan and patient visitor. Sister Doris remained at St. Francis for 35 years as chaplain assistant, chaplain associate, pastoral mission advocate, patient advocate and spiritual mission advocate. In May 2010, she moved to The Sarah Community.
In 35 years at St. Francis Hospital, she lovingly offered a listening ear and a caring hug to anyone who needed it, patient or staff member: "'Step into my office' — and my office was everywhere," she would say. Her community stated that she made a lasting impression on those who knew her and continued to be the loving presence of Jesus to all.
Sister Doris served as a Eucharistic Minister at The Sarah Community. She often baked cookies as gifts, and she was available to anyone who needed her. In her quiet simplicity, compassion and grace, she was described as a beacon encouraging others to live as Jesus lived.
Sister Doris is survived by a stepsister, Theresa J. Cippola of Odessa, Mo.