A funeral Mass was celebrated for Sister Mary Richelle Williams, SSND, May 19 at the School Sisters of Notre Dame Theresa Center chapel in south St. Louis County. Sister Mary Richelle died May 12 at Anna House, The Sarah Community, in Bridgeton. She was 81 years old and a School Sister of Notre Dame for 61 years.
Sister Mary Richelle was born Dec. 6, 1939, in Alton, Illinois, to Verdell and Helen (Vuchich) Williams. She entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1957 and was received into the novitiate in 1958. She professed first vows on July 30, 1959, and final vows on July 30, 1965.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin from the former Notre Dame College in 1961, a master’s degree in Latin/Greek from Saint Louis University in 1965 and a doctorate in Latin/Greek from Saint Louis University in 1969. In 1971, she received a Fullbright grant for a summer seminar in Italy for American teachers of Latin and Greek.
Sister Mary Richelle began her ministry teaching secondary students at Duchesne High School in St. Charles, and college students at the former Notre Dame College in St. Louis. While on the faculty at the former Notre Dame College, she also served as dean of students for two years. In 1972, she was missioned to be local leader at the SSND Generalate in Rome. Upon returning to St. Louis, Sister Mary Richelle became director of the archdiocesan Cuban refugee program and director of Catholic Charities Dial Help information and referral service.
In 1986, Sister Mary Richelle was appointed local leader at Villa Gesu, a former retirement home in St Louis. She also served as director of retirement for the former SSND St. Louis Province and was on the planning team for The Sarah Community. In 1999, she served in Gorizia, Italy as a provincial councilor and local leader of the motherhouse. Upon her return to the United States, Sister Mary Richelle served The Sarah Community for 14 years, first as coordinator of spiritual life services and then as a staff member.
Until her death, Sister Mary Richelle resided in prayer and presence at Anna House. Burial was in Sancta Maria in Ripa Cemetery.