A funeral Mass for Sister Monica Marie Toenjes was celebrated Sept. 23 in St. Joseph’s Chapel at the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood in O’Fallon. Sister Monica Marie died Sept. 17 at the age of 87.
Jeanne Marie Toenjes was the youngest of 11 children of Bernard and Norma (Doering) Toenjes, born on Feb. 5, 1936. She was baptized at Our Lady of Sorrows in St. Louis and attended her first years of elementary school there. In 1946, the family moved to Fenton, where Jeanne experienced her first attraction toward her future ministry. While helping Sister Domitilla average grades in the tiny convent parlor, she saw a photo of the sisters in Finland and was intrigued by it. It led her to volunteer for the community’s Finnish mission shortly after professing vows.
She was received into the novitiate of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood on July 25, 1956, receiving the name Sister Monica Marie. She professed first vows on Aug. 10, 1958. Sister Monica Marie earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Fontbonne College.
Sister Monica Marie taught elementary grades in Missouri at St. John the Baptist, St. Agatha and Holy Family in St. Louis; Assumption in O’Fallon; St. Brendan in Mexico; and Linda Vista in Chesterfield. She also taught at St. Peter in Quincy, Illinois, and she assisted in the library at St. Mary’s College in O’Fallon.
For 41 years, Sister Monica Marie ministered in Helsinki and Tampere, Finland, teaching English to preschoolers. Upon returning to the United States in 2017, she served at St. Agatha Center in St. Louis until her retirement to Abbey Senior Health in 2020.
Sister Monica Marie was preceded in death by her parents and all her siblings, Bernard (Agatha) Toenjes, Marie (Joseph) Donovan, Agnes (Robert) Donovan, Rita Toenjes, Gertrude (Harold) Noftsinger, Karl (Shirley) Toenjes, Louis (Bonnie) Toenjes, Rosemary (John) Duckworth, Paul (Delores) Toenjes, and Lawrence (Marianne) Toenjes. She is survived by nieces and nephews of several generations.
Burial was in the convent cemetery.