A memorial Mass for Sister Mary Dorine Wittenbrink, FSM, was celebrated Jan. 11 in the chapel at The Sarah Community in Bridgeton.
A Franciscan Sister of Mary for 82 years, Sister Mary Dorine died Jan. 2 at The Sarah Community. She was 100.
She was known as "preemie Sister" for her legendary work with the tiniest of babies. She established the premature nursery at St. Mary's Hospital, Madison, Wis., and developed the instructional programs for physicians and nurses on caring for these infants.
Catherine Magdalen Wittenbrink was born Oct. 5, 1916, in Evansville, Ill., the youngest of nine children. She entered the Sisters of St. Mary (later the Franciscan Sisters of Mary) in 1934. She received the name Sr. Mary Dorine, and she professed final vows January 29, 1940.
She completed her bachelor's in nursing from St. Louis University in 1945. After serving in the operating room at St. Mary's Ringling Hospital in Baraboo, Wis. from 1945 to 1947, she returned to St. Louis as head nurse at St. Mary's Infirmary and taught pediatric nursing through 1949, then she supervised Obstetrics at St. Mary's Health Center through 1951. After being trained in the care of premature infants, she headed to St. Mary's Hospital in Madison, Wis., and set up the premature nursery. In 1958, Sister Dorine returned to St. Mary's Hospital in St. Louis as supervisor of Obstetrics, then went back to St. Mary's Hospital in Madison in 1966 and set up a neonatal nursery for sick premature babies. She remained in Madison until 1974.
After training in pastoral ministry, she started the department of Pastoral Ministry at St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Charles, serving as director for 18 years until retirement in 1992. After retiring Sister Dorine helped in the FSM archives and led the FSM intercessory prayer ministry. She moved to The Sarah Community in February 2011.
Sister Mary Dorine is survived by a brother, Boniface Wittenbrink, OMI.
She donated her body to St. Louis University School of Medicine.